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Class, PA JA 


No. 33 

Editors : 


LL.D,, F.B.A. 

A completi classijied list of the volumes of The 
Home University Library already published 
will be found at the back of this book. 





A. F. POLLARD, M.A., Litt.D. 











Copyright, i9i*t 






Chap. Page 

I The Foundations of England, 56 B. C.-A.D. 

106G 7 

II The Submergence of England, 1066-1272 . . 31 

III Emergence of the English People, 1272-1485 60 

IV The Progress of Nationaosm, 1485-1603 . . 87 
V The Struggle for Self-Go vernment, 1603- 

1815 116 

VI The Expansion of England, 1603-1815 ... 149 

VII The Industrial Revolution 173 

VIII A Century of Empire, 1815-1911 199 

IX Engijsh Democracy 225 

Chronological Table 248 

Bibliography 253 

Index 254 



55 B.c.-A.D. 1066 

"Ah, well," an American visitor is said to 
have soliloquized on the site of the battle of 
Hastings, "it is but a little island, and it has 
often been conquered." We have in these 
few pages to trace the evolution of a great 
empire, which has often conquered others, 
out of the little island which was often con- 
quered itself. The mere incidents of this 
growth, which satisfied the childlike curiosity 
of earlier generations, hardly appeal to a 
public which is learning to look upon his- 
torical narrative not as a simple story, but 
as an interpretation of human development, 
and upon historical fact as the complex 
resultant of character and conditions; and 
introspective readers will look less for a list 


of facts and dates marking the milestones on 
this national march than for suggestions to 
explain the formation of the army, the spirit 
of its leaders and its men, the progress made, 
and the obstacles overcome. No solution of 
the problems presented by history will be 
complete until the knowledge of man is per- 
fect; but we cannot approach the thresh- 
old of understanding without realizing that 
our national achievement has been the out- 
come of singular powers of assimilation, of 
adaptation to changing circumstances, and of 
elasticity of system. Change has been, and is, 
the breath of our existence and the condition 
of our growth. 

Change began with the Creation, and ages 
of momentous development are shrouded 
from our eyes. The land and the people are 
the two foundations of Enghsh history; but 
before history began, the land had received 
the insular configuration which has largely 
determined its fortune; and the various 
peoples, who were to mould and be moulded 
by the land, had differentiated from the other 
races of the world. Several of these peoples 


had occupied the land before its conquest by 
the Anglo-Saxons, some before it was even 
Britain. Whether neohthic man superseded 
palseoHthic man in these islands by invasion 
or by domestic evolution, we do not know; 
but centuries before the Christian era the 
Britons overran the country and superim- 
posed themselves upon its swarthy, squat 
inhabitants. They mounted comparatively 
high in the scale of civilization; they tilled 
the soil, worked mines, cultivated various 
forms of art, and even built towns. But 
their loose tribal organization left them at the 
mercy of the Romans; and though Julius 
Caesar's two raids in 55 B.C. and 54 B.C. left no 
permanent results, the conquest was soon 
completed when the Romans came in earnest 
in A.D. 43. 

The extent to which the Romans during the 
three and a half centuries of their rule in 
Britain civilized its inhabitants is a matter of 
doubtful inference. The remains of Roman 
roads, Roman walls, and Roman villas still 
bear witness to their material activity; and 
an occupation of the land by Roman troops 


and Roman officials, spread over three hun- 
dred and fifty years, must have impressed 
upon the upper classes of the Britons at least 
some acquaintance with the language, re- 
ligion, administration, and social and eco- 
nomic arrangements of the conquerors. But, 
on the whole, the evidence points rather to 
military occupation than to colonization; and 
the Roman province resembled more nearly a 
German than a British colony of to-day. 
Rome had then no surplus population with 
which to fill new territory; the only emigrants 
were the soldiers, the officials, and a few 
traders or prospectors; and of these most 
were partially Romanized provincials from 
other parts of the empire, for a Roman soldier 
of the third century a.d. was not generally a 
Roman or even an Italian. The imperial 
government, moreover, considered the inter- 
ests of Britain not in themselves but only as 
subordinate to the empire, which any sort 
of distinctive national organization would 
have threatened. This distinguishes Roman 
rule in Britain from British rule in India; 
and if the army in Britain gradually grew 


more British, it was due to the weakness and 
not to the poHcy of the imperial govern- 
ment. There was no attempt to form a 
British constitution, or weld British tribes 
into a nation; for Rome brought to birth no 
daughter states, lest she should dismember 
her all-embracing unity. So the nascent 
nations warred within and rent her; and 
when, enfeebled and distracted by the strug- 
gle, she relaxed her hold on Britain, she left it 
more cultivated, perhaps, but more enervated 
and hardly stronger or more united than 

Hardier peoples were already hovering over 
the prey. The Romans had themselves estab- 
lished a "count of the Saxon shore'' to defend 
the eastern coasts of Britain against the 
pirates of the German Ocean; and it was not 
long after its revolt from Rome in 410, that 
the Angles and Saxons and Jutes discovered 
a chance to meddle in Britain, torn as it was 
by domestic anarchy, and threatened with 
inroads by the Picts and Scots in the north. 
Neither this temptation nor the alleged in- 
vitation from the British chief Vortigern to 


come over and help, supplied the original 
impulse which drove the Angles and Saxons 
across the sea. Whatever its origin — whether 
pressure from other tribes behind, internal 
dissensions, or the economic necessities of a 
population growing too fast for the produce 
of primitive farming — the restlessness was 
general; but while the Goths and the Franks 
poured south over the Roman frontiers on 
land, the Angles and Saxons obeyed a pro- 
phetic call to the sea and the setting sun. 

This migration by sea is a strange phenom- 
enon. That nations should wander by land 
was no new thing; but how in those days 
whole tribes transported themselves, their 
wives and their chattels, from the mouths of 
the Elbe and the Weser to those of the Thames 
and the Humber, we are at a loss to under- 
stand. Yet come they did, and the name of 
the Angles at least, which clung to the land 
they reached, was blotted out from the home 
they left. It is clear that they came in 
detachments, as their descendants went, 
centuries later, to. a land still further west; 
and the process was spread over a hundred 


years or more. They conquered Britain 
blindly and piecemeal; and the traditional 
three years which are said to have elapsed 
between the occupation of Sheppey and the 
landing in Kent prove not that the puny 
arm of the intervening sea deterred those who 
had crossed the ocean, but that Sheppey was 
as much as these petrels of the storm could 
manage. The failure to dislodge them, and 
the absence of centralized government and 
national consciousness among the Britons 
encouraged further invaders; and Kent, east 
of the Medway, and the Isle of Wight may 
have been the next morsels they swallowed. 
These early comers were Jutes, but their easy 
success led to imitation by their more numer- 
ous southern neighbours, the Angles and 
Saxons; and the torrent of conquest grew in 
volume and rapidity. Invaders by sea natu- 
rally sailed or rowed up the rivers, and all 
conquerors master the plains before the hills, 
which are the home of lost causes and the ref- 
uge of native states. Their progress may be 
traced in the names of English kingdoms and 
shires: in the south the Saxons founded the 


kingdoms of Sussex, Essex, Middlesex, and 
Wessex; in the east the Anglians founded 
East Angha, though in the north they retained 
the Celtic names, Bernicia and Deira. The 
districts in which they met and mingled 
have less distinctive names; Surrey was 
perhaps disputed between all the Saxon king- 
doms, Hampshire between West Saxons, 
South Saxons, and Jutes; while in the centre 
Mercia was a mixed march or borderland 
of Angles and Saxons against the retiring 
Britons or Welsh. 

It used to be almost a point of honour with 
champions of the superiority of Anglo-Saxon 
virtues to maintain that the invaders, like the 
Israelites of old, massacred their enemies to 
a man, if not also to a woman and child. 
Massacre there certainly was at Anderida and 
other places taken by storm, and no doubt 
whole British villages fled at the approach of 
their bloodthirsty foes; but as the wave of 
conquest rolled from east to west, and the 
concentration of the Britons grew while that 
of the invader relaxed, there was less and less 
extermination. The English hordes cannot 


have been as numerous in women as in men; 
and in that case some of the British women 
would be spared. It no more required whole- 
sale slaughter of the Britons to establish 
English language and institutions in Britain 
than it required wholesale slaughter of the 
Irish to produce the same results in Ireland; 
and a large admixture of Celtic blood in the 
English race can hardly be denied. 

Moreover, the Anglo-Saxons began to fight 
one another before they ceased to fight their 
common enemy, who must have profited by 
this internecine strife. Of the process by 
which the migrating clans and families were 
blended into tribal kingdoms, we learn noth- 
ing; but the blending favoured expansion, and 
expansion brought the tribal kingdoms into 
hostile contact with tougher rivals than the 
Britons. The expansion of Sussex and Kent 
was checked by Saxons who had landed in Es- 
sex or advanced up the Thames and the Itchen ; 
East Anglia was hemmed in by tribes who had 
sailed up the Wash, the Humber, and their 
tributaries; and the three great kingdoms 
which emerged out of the anarchy — North- 


umbria, Mercia, and Wessex — seem to have 
owed the supremacy, which they wielded in 
turn, to the circumstance that each possessed 
a British hinterland into which it could ex- 
pand. For Northumbria there was Strath- 
clyde on the west and Scotland on the north; 
for Mercia there was Wales; and for Wessex 
there were the British remnants in Devon 
and in Cornwall. 

But a kingdom may have too much hinter- 
land. Scotland taxed for centuries the as- 
similative capacity of united England; it 
was too much for Northumbria to digest. 
Northumbria's supremacy was distinguished 
by the religious labours of Aidan and Cuth- 
bert and Wilfrid in England, by the missions 
of Willibrord on the Continent, and by the 
revival of literature and learning under Caed- 
mon and Bede; but it spent its substance in 
efforts to conquer Scotland, and then fell a 
victim to the barbaric strength of Mercia and 
to civil strife between its component parts, 
Bernicia and Deira. Mercia was even less 
homogeneous than Northumbria; it had no 
frontiers worth mention; and in spite of its 


military prowess it could not absorb a hinter- 
land treble the size of the Wales which 
troubled Edward I. Wessex, with serviceable 
frontiers consisting of the Thames, the Cots- 
wolds, the Severn, and the sea, and with a 
hinterland narrowing down to the Cornish 
peninsula, developed a slower but more last- 
ing strength. Political organization seems to 
have been its forte, and it had set its own 
house in some sort of order before it was 
summoned by Ecgberht to assume the lead in 
English politics. From that day to this the 
sceptre has remained in his house without 
a permanent break. 

Some slight semblance of political unity 
was thus achieved, but it was already threat- 
ened by the Northmen and Danes, who were 
harrying England in much the same way as 
the English, three centuries earlier, had har- 
ried Britain. The invaders were invaded be- 
cause they had forsaken the sea to fight one 
another on land; and then Christianity had 
come to tame their turbulent vigour. A wave 
of missionary zeal from Rome and a backwash 
from unconquered Ireland had met at the 


synod of Whitby in 664, and Roman priests 
recovered what Roman soldiers had lost. But 
the church had not yet armed itself with the 
weapons of the world, and Christian England 
was no more a match than Christian Britain 
had been for a heathen foe. Ecgberht's feeble 
successors in Wessex, and their feebler rivals 
in the subordinate kingdoms, gave way step 
by step before the Danes, until in 879 Ecg- 
berht's grandson Alfred the Great was, like a 
second King Arthur, a fugitive lurking in the 
recesses of his disappearing realm. 

Wessex, however, was more closely knit 
than any Celtic realm had been; the Danes 
were fewer than their Anglo-Saxon pred- 
ecessors; and Alfred was made of sterner 
stuff than early British princes. He was 
typical of Wessex; moral strength and all- 
round capacity rather than supreme ability 
in any one direction are his title-deeds to 
greatness. After hard fighting he imposed 
terms of peace upon the Danish leader Guth- 
rum. England south-west of Watling Street, 
which ran from London to Chester, was 
to be Alfred's, the rest to be Danish; and 


Guthrum succumbed to the pacifying in- 
fluence of Christianity. Not the least of 
Alfred's gains was the destruction of Mercia's 
unity; its royal house had disappeared in the 
struggle, and the kingdom was now divided; 
while Alfred lost his nominal suzerainty over 
north-east England, he gained a real sover- 
eignty over south-west Mercia. His children, 
Edward the Elder and Ethelfleda, the Lady 
of the Mercians, and his grandson Athelstan, 
pushed on the expansion of Wessex thus 
begun, dividing the land as they won it into 
shires, each with a burh (borough) or fortified 
centre for its military organization; and 
Anglo-Saxon monarchy reached its zenith 
under Edgar, who ruled over the whole of 
England and asserted a suzerainty over most 
of Britain. 

It was transitory glory and superficial 
unity; for there was no real possibility of a 
national state in Anglo-Saxon-Celtic-Danish 
England, and the whole meaning of English 
history is missed in antedating that achieve- 
ment by several hundred years. Edgar could 
do no more than evade difficulties and tempor- 


ize with problems which imperceptible growth 
alone could solve; and the idealistic pictures 
of early England are not drawn from life, but 
inspired by a belief in good old days and an 
unconscious appreciation of the polemical 
value of such a theory in political controversy. 
Tacitus, a splenetic Roman aristocrat, had 
satirized the degeneracy of the empire under 
the guise of a description of the primitive 
virtues of a Utopian Germany; and modern 
theorists have found in his Germania an 
armoury of democratic weapons against aris- 
tocracy and despotism. From this golden age 
the Angles and Saxons are supposed to have 
derived a political system in which most men 
were free and equal, owning their land in 
common, debating and deciding in folkmoots 
the issues of peace and war, electing their 
kings (if any), and obeying them only so far as 
they inspired respect. These idyllic arrange- 
ments, if they ever existed, did not survive 
the stress of the migration and the struggle 
with the Celts. War begat the king, and soon 
the church baptized him and confirmed his 
power with unction and biblical precedents. 


The moot of the folk became the moot of the 
Wise (Witan), and only those were wise whose 
wisdom was apparent to the king. Com- 
munity of goods and equality of property 
broke down in the vast appropriation involved 
in the conquest of Britain; and when, after 
their conversion to Christianity, the bar- 
barians learnt to write and left authentic 
records, they reveal a state of society which 
bears some resemblance to that of medieval 
England but little to that of the mythical 
golden age. 

Upon a nation of freemen in arms had been 
superimposed a class of military specialists, 
of whom the king was head. Specialization 
had broken down the system by which all 
men did an equal amount of everything. The 
few, who were called thegns, served the king, 
generally by fighting his enemies, while the 
many worked for themselves and for those 
who served the king. All holders of land, 
however, had to serve in the national levy 
and to help in maintaining the bridges and 
primitive fortifications. But there were end- 
less degrees of inequality in wealth; some 


now owned but a fraction of what had been 
the normal share of a household in the land; 
others held many shares, and the possession 
of five shares became the dividing line between 
the class from which the servants of the king 
were chosen and the rest of the community. 
While this inequality increased, the tenure of 
land grew more and more important as the 
basis of social position and political influence. 
Land has little value for nomads, but so soon 
as they settle its worth begins to grow; and 
the more labour they put into the land, the 
higher rises its value and the less they want 
to leave it; in a purely agricultural com- 
munity land is the great source of everything 
worth having, and therefore the main object 
of desire. 

But it became increasingly difficult for the 
small man to retain his holding. He needed 
protection, especially during the civil wars of 
the Heptarchy and the Danish inroads which 
followed. There was, however, no govern- 
ment strong enough to afford protection, 
and he had to seek it from the nearest mag- 
nate, who might possess armed servants to 


defend him, and perhaps a rudimentary 
stronghold within which he might shelter him- 
self and his belongings till the storm was past. 
The magnate naturally wanted his price for 
these commodities, and the only price that 
would satisfy him was the poor man's land. 
So many poor men surrendered the ownership 
of their land, receiving it back to be held by 
them as tenants on condition of rendering 
various services to the landlord, such as 
ploughing his land, reaping his crops, and 
other work. Generally, too, the tenant be- 
came the landlord's "man," and did him 
homage; and, thirdly, he would be bound to 
attend the court in which the lord or his 
steward exercised jurisdiction. 

This growth of private jurisdiction was 
another sign of the times. Justice had once 
been administered in the popular moots, 
though from very early times there had been 
social distinctions. Each village had its 
**best" men, generally four in number, who 
attended the moots of the larger districts 
called the Hundreds; and the "best" were 
probably those who had inherited or acquired 


the best homesteads. This aristocracy some- 
times shrank to one, and the magnate, to 
whom the poor surrendered their land in 
return for protection, often acquired also 
rights of jurisdiction, receiving the fines and 
forfeits imposed for breaches of the law. He 
was made responsible, too, for the conduct of 
his poorer neighbours. Originally the family 
had been made to answer for the offences of * 
its members; but the tie of blood-relationship 
weakened as the bond of neighbourhood 
grew stronger with attachment to the soil; 
and instead of the natural unit of the family, 
an artificial unit was created for the purpose 
of responsibility to the law by associating 
neighbours together in groups of ten, called 
peace-pledges or frith-borhs. It is at least 
possible that the "Hundred" was a further 
association of ten frith-borhs as a higher and 
more responsible unit for the administration 
of justice. But the landless man was worth- 
less as a member of a frith-borh, for the law 
had little hold over a man who had no land to 
forfeit and no fixed habitation. So the land- 
less man was compelled by law to submit 


to a lord, who was held responsible for the 
behaviour of all his **men"; his estate be- 
came, so to speak, a private frith-borh, con- 
sisting of dependents instead of the freemen 
of the public frith-borhs. These two systems, 
with many variations, existed side by side; 
but there was a general tendency for the free- 
men to get fewer and for the lords to grow 
more powerful. 

This growth of over-mighty subjects was 
due to the fact that a government which could 
not protect the poorest could not restrain the 
local magnates to whom the poor were forced 
to turn; and the weakness of the government 
was due ultimately to the lack of political 
education and of material resources. The 
mass of Englishmen were locally minded; 
there was nothing to suggest national unity 
to their imagination. They could not read, 
they had no maps, nor pictures of crowned 
sovereigns, not even a flag to wave; none, 
indeed, of those symbols which bring home 
to the peasant or artisan a consciousness that 
he belongs to a national entity. Their inter- 
ests centred round the village green; the 


"best" men travelled further afield to the 
hundred and shire-moot, but anything beyond 
these limits was distant and unreal, the affair 
of an outside world with which they had no 
concern. Anglo-Saxon patriotism never tran- 
scended provincial boundaries. 

The government, on the other hand, pos- 
sessed no proper roads, no regular means of 
communication, none of those nerves which 
enable it to feel what goes on in distant parts. 
The king, indeed, was beginning to supply the 
deficiencies of local and popular organization : a 
special royal peace or protection, which meant 
specially severe penalties to the offender, 
was being thrown over special places like 
highways, markets, boroughs, and churches; 
over special times like Sundays, holy days, 
and the meeting-days of moots; and over 
special persons like priests and royal officials. 
The church, too, strove to set an example of 
centralized administration; but its organi- 
zation was still monastic rather than parochial 
and episcopal, and even Dunstan failed to 
cleanse it of sloth and simony. With no regu- 
lar system of taxation, little government 


machinery, and no police, standing army, or 
royal judges, it was impossible to enforce 
royal protection adequately, or to check the 
centrifugal tendency of England to break up 
into its component parts. The monarchy was 
a man rather than a machine; a vigorous 
ruler could make some impression, but when- 
ever the crown passed to a feeble king, the 
reign of anarchy recommenced. 

Alfred's successors annexed the Danelaw 
which Alfred had left to Guthrum, but their 
efforts to assimilate the Danes provoked in 
the first place a reaction against West Saxon 
influence which threatened more than once to 
separate England north of the Thames from 
Wessex, and, secondly, a determination on 
the part of Danes across the sea to save their 
fellow-countrymen in England from absorp- 
tion. Other causes no doubt assisted to bring 
about a renewal of Danish invasion; but the 
Danes who came at the end of the tenth 
century, if they began as haphazard bands of 
rovers, greedy of spoil and ransom, developed 
into the emissaries of an organized govern- 
ment bent on political conquest. Ethelred, 


who had to suffer from evils that were incur- 
able as well as for his predecessors' neglect, 
bought off the raiders with ever-increasing 
bribes which tempted them to return; and 
by levying Danegeld to stop invasion, set 
a precedent for direct taxation which the 
invaders eventually used as the financial 
basis of efficient government. At length a 
foolish massacre of the Danish "uitlanders" 
in England precipitated the ruin of Anglo- 
Saxon monarchy; and after heroic resistance 
by Edmund Ironside, England was absorbed 
in the empire of Canute. 

Canute tried to put himself into the posi- 
tion, while avoiding the mistakes, of his 
English predecessors. He adopted the Chris- 
tian religion and set up a force of hus-carls to 
terrify local magnates and enforce obedience 
to the English laws which he re-enacted. 
His division of England into four great earl- 
doms seems to have been merely a casual 
arrangement, but he does not appear to have 
checked the dangerous practice by which 
under Edgar and Ethelred the ealdormen had 
begun to concentrate in their hands the con- 


trol of various shires. The greater the sphere 
of a subject's jurisdiction, the more it men- 
aced the monarchy and national unity; and 
after Canute's empire had fallen to pieces 
under his worthless sons, the restoration of 
Ecgberht's line in the person of Edward the 
Confessor merely provided a figurehead under 
whose nominal rule the great earls of Wessex, 
Mercia, Northumbria, and East Anglia fought 
at first for control of the monarchy and at 
length for the crown itself. The strife resolved 
itself into a faction fight between the Mercian 
house of Leofric and the West Saxon house of 
God wine, whose dynastic policy has been mag- 
nified into patriotism by a great West Saxon 
historian. The prize fell for the moment on 
Edward's death to Godwine's son, Harold, 
whose ambition to sit on a throne cost him his 
life and the glory, which otherwise might have 
been his, of saving his country from William 
the Norman. As regent for one of the scions 
of Ecgberht's house, he might have relied on 
the co-operation of his rivals; as an upstart 
on the throne he could only count on the 
veiled or open enmity of Mercians and North- 


umbrians, who regarded him, and were re- 
garded by him, as hardly less foreign than the 
invader from France. 

The battle of Hastings sums up a series and 
clinches an argument. Anglo-Saxondom had 
only been saved from Danish marauders by 
the personal greatness of Alfred; it had 
utterly failed to respond to Edmund's call 
to arms against Canute, and the respite 
under Edward the Confessor had been frit- 
tered away. Angles and Saxons invited 
foreign conquest by a civil war; and when 
Harold beat back Tostig and his Norwegian 
ally, the sullen north left him alone to do the 
same by William. William's was the third 
and decisive Danish conquest of a house 
divided against itself; for his Normans were 
Northmen with a French polish, and they 
conquered a country in which the soundest 
elements were already Danish. The stoutest 
resistance, not only in the military but in 
the constitutional and social sense, to the 
Norman Conquest was offered not by Wes- 
sex but by the Danelaw, where personal 
freedom had outlived its hey-day elsewhere; 


and the reflection that, had the English re- 
conquest of the Danelaw been more complete, 
so, too, would have been the Norman Con- 
quest of England, may modify the view that 
everything great and good in England is 
Anglo-Saxon in origin. England, indeed, 
was still in the crudest stages of its making; 
it had as yet no law worth the name, no trial 
by jury, no parliament, no real constitution, 
no effective army or navy, no universities, 
few schools, hardly any literature, and little 
art. The disjointed and unruly members of 
which it consisted in 1066 had to undergo 
a severe discipline before they could form an 
organic national state. 



For nearly two centuries after the Norman 
Conquest there is no history of the English 
people. There is history enough of England, 
but it is the history of a foreign government. 


We may now feel pride in the strength of 
our conqueror or pretend claims to descent 
from William's companions. We may boast 
of the empire of Henry II and the prowess 
of Richard I, and we may celebrate the 
organized law and justice, the scholarship 
and the architecture, of the early Plantagenet 
period; but these things were no more Eng- 
lish than the government of India to-day is 
Hindu. With Waltheof and Here ward Eng- 
lish names disappear from English history, 
from the roll of sovereigns, ministers, bishops, 
earls, and sheriffs; and their place is taken by 
names beginning with "fitz" and distin- 
guished by "de.'* No William, Thomas, 
Henry, Geoffrey, Gilbert, John, Stephen, 
Richard, or Robert had played any part in 
Anglo-Saxon affairs, but they fill the pages of 
England's history from the days of Harold 
to those of Edward I. The English language 
went underground, and became the patois 
of peasants; the thin trickle of Anglo-Saxon 
literature dried up, for there was no demand 
for Anglo-Saxon among an upper class which 
wrote Latin and spoke French. Foreigners 


ruled and owned the land, and "native" 
became synonymous with "serf." 

Their common lot, however, gave birth to a 
common feeling. The Norman was more alien 
to the Mercian than had been Northumbrian 
or West-Saxon, and rival tribes at last dis- 
covered a bond of unity in the impartial rigour 
of their masters. The Norman, coming from 
outside and exempt from local prejudice, 
applied the same methods of government 
and exploitation to all parts of England, just 
as Englishmen bring the same ideas to bear 
upon all parts of India; and in both cases the 
steady pressure of a superimposed civiliza- 
tion tended to obliterate local and class divi- 
sions. Unwittingly Norman and Angevin 
despotism made an Enghsh nation out of 
Anglo-Saxon tribes, as English despotism has 
made a nation out of Irish septs, and will 
make another out of the hundred races and 
religions of our Indian empire. The more 
efficient a despotism, the sooner it makes 
itself impossible, and the greater the prob- 
lems it stores up for the future, unless it 
can divest itself of its despotic attributes 


and make common cause with the nation it 
has created. 

The provision of this even-handed tyranny 
was the great contribution of the Normans 
to the making of England. They had no 
written law of their own, but to secure them- 
selves they had to enforce order upon their 
schismatic subjects; and they were able to 
enforce it because, as military experts, they 
had no equals in that age. They could not 
have stood against a nation in arms; but the 
increasing cost of equipment and the growth 
of poor and landless classes among the 
Anglo-Saxons had transferred the mihtary 
business of the nation into the hands of large 
landowning specialists; and the Anglo-Saxon 
warrior was no match for his Norman rival, 
either individually or collectively. His burh 
was inferior to the Norman castle, his shield 
and battle-axe to the weapons of the mailed 
and mounted knight; and he had none of 
the coherence that was forced upon the con- 
querors by the iron hand of William and by 
their situation amid a hostile people. 

The problem for William and his com- 


panions was how to organize this military 
superiority as a means of orderly government, 
and this problem wore a twofold aspect. 
William had to control his barons, and his 
barons had to control their vassals. Their 
methods have been summed up in the phrase, 
the ** feudal system," which William is still 
popularly supposed to have introduced into 
England. On the other hand, it has been 
humourously suggested that the feudal sys- 
tem was really introduced into England by 
Sir Henry Spelman, a seventeenth-century 
scholar. Others have maintained that, so far 
from feudalism being introduced from Nor- 
mandy into England, it would be truer to say 
that feudalism was introduced from England 
into Normandy, and thence spread through- 
out France. These speculations serve, at any 
rate, to show that feudalism was a very vague 
and elusive system, consisting of generaliza- 
tions from a vast number of conflicting data. 
Spelman was the first to attempt to reduce 
these data to a system, and his successors 
tended to forget more and more the excep- 
tions to his rules. It is now clear that much 


that we call feudal existed in England before 
the Norman Conquest; that much of it was 
not developed until after the Norman period; 
and that at no time did feudalism exist as a 
completely rounded and logical system out- 
side historical and legal text-books. 

The political and social arrangements 
summed up in the phrase related primarily to 
the land and the conditions of service upon 
which it was held. Commerce and manu- 
factures, and the organization of towns which 
grew out of them, were always exceptions 
to the feudal system; the monarchy saved 
itself, its sheriffs, and the shires to some 
extent from feudal influence; and soon it 
set to work to redeem the administration of 
justice from its clutches. In all parts of the 
country, moreover, there was land, the tenure 
of which was never feudalized. Generally, 
however, the theory was applied that all land 
was held directly or indirectly from the king, 
who was the sole owner of it, that there 
was no land without a lord, and that from 
every acre of land some sort of service was 
due to some one or other. A great deal of 


it was held by military service; the tenant- 
in-chief of this land, who might be either 
a layman or an ecclesiastic, had to render 
this military service to the king, while the 
sub -tenants had to render it to the tenants- 
in-chief. When the tenant died his land re- 
verted to the lord, who only granted it to the 
heir after the payment of a year's revenue, 
and on condition of the same service being 
rendered. If the heir were a minor, and thus 
incapable of rendering military service, the 
land was retained by the lord until the heir 
came of age; heiresses could only marry with 
the lord's leave some one who could perform 
his services. The tenant had further to at- 
tend the lord's court — whether the lord was 
his king or not — submit to his jurisdiction, 
and pay aids to the lord whenever he was 
captured and needed ransom, when his eldest 
son was made a knight, and when his eldest 
daughter married. 

Other land was held by churchmen on 
condition of praying or singing for the soul 
of the lord, and the importance of this tenure 
was that it was subject to the church courts 


and not to those of the king. Some was held 
in what was called free socage, the terms of 
w^hich varied; but its distinguishing feature 
seems to have been that the service, which 
was not military, was fixed, and that when it 
was performed the lord had no further hold 
on the tenant. The great mass of the popula- 
tion were, however, villeins, who were always 
at the beck and call of their lords, and had to 
do as much ploughing, sowing, and reaping 
of his land as he could make them. Theo- 
retically they were his goods and chattels, who 
could obtain no redress against any one ex- 
cept in the lord's court, and none at all against 
him. They could not leave their land, nor 
marry, nor enter the church, nor go to school 
without his leave. All these forms of tenure 
and kinds of service, however, shaded off into 
one another, so that it is impossible to draw 
hard and fast lines between them. Any one, 
moreover, might hold different lands on differ- 
ent terms of service, so that there was little 
of caste in the English system; it was upon 
the land and not the person that the service 
was imposed; and William's Domesday Book 


was not a record of the ranks and classes of 
the people, but a survey of the land, detailing 
the rents and service due from every part. 

The local agency by which the Normans 
enforced these arrangements was the manor. 
The Anglo-Saxons had organized shires and 
hundreds, but the lowest unit, township or 
vill seems to have had no organization except, 
perhaps, for agricultural purposes. The Dane- 
geld, which William imposed after the Domes- 
day survey, was assessed on the hundreds, 
as though there were no smaller units from 
which it could be levied. But the hundred 
was found too cumbrous for the efficient 
control of local details; it was divided into 
manors, the Normans using for this purpose 
the germs of dependent townships which had 
long been growing up in England; and the 
agricultural organization of the township 
was dovetailed into the jurisdictional organ- 
ization of the manor. The lord became the 
lord of all the land on the manor, the owner 
of a court which tried local disputes; but 
he rarely possessed that criminal jurisdiction 
in matters of life and death which was com- 


mon in continental feudalism; and if he 
did, it was only by special royal grant, and he 
was gradually deprived of it by the develop- 
ment of royal courts of justice, which drew 
to themselves large parts of manorial juris- 

These and other matters were reserved for 
the old courts of the shire and hundred, 
which the Norman kings found it advisable 
to encourage as a check upon their barons; 
for the more completely the natives and vil- 
lagers were subjected to their lords, the more 
necessary was it for the king to maintain his 
hold upon their masters. For this reason 
William imposed the famous Salisbury oath. 
In France the sub-tenant was bound to follow 
and obey his immediate lord rather than the 
king. William was determined that every 
man's duty to the king should come first. 
Similarly, he separated church courts from the 
secular courts, in order that the former might 
be saved from the feudal influence of the lat- 
ter; and he enforced the ecclesiastical reforms 
of Hildebrand, especially the prohibition of 
the marriage of the clergy, lest they should 


convert their benefices into hereditary fiefs 
for the benefit of their children. 

For the principles of heredity and primo- 
geniture were among the strongest of feudal 
tendencies. Primogeniture had proved politi- 
cally advantageous; and one of the best things 
in the Anglo-Saxon monarchy had been its 
avoidance of the practice, prevalent on the 
Continent, of kings dividing their dominions 
among their sons, instead of leaving all united 
to the eldest. But the principle of heredity, 
sound enough in national monarchy, was to 
prove very dangerous in the other spheres of 
politics. Office tended to become hereditary, 
and to be regarded as the private property of 
the family rather than a position of national 
trust, thus escaping national control and 
being prostituted for personal ends. The 
earldoms in England were so perverted; 
originally they were offices like the modern 
lords-lieutenancies of the shires; gradually 
they became hereditary titles. The only 
remedy the king had was to deprive the earls 
of their power, and entrust it to a nominal 
deputy, the sheriff. In France, the sheriff 


(vice-comes, vicomte) became hereditary in 
his turn, and a prolonged struggle over the 
same tendency was fought in England. 
Fortunately, the crown and country tri- 
umphed over the hereditary principle in this 
respect; the sheriff remained an official, and 
when viscounts were created later, in imita- 
tion of the French nobility, they received only 
a meaningless and comparatively innocuous 

Some slight check, too, was retained upon 
the crown owing to a series of disputed 
successions to the throne. The Anglo-Saxon 
monarchy had always been in theory elective, 
and William had been careful to observe the 
form. His son, William II, had to obtain 
election in order to secure the throne against 
the claims of his elder brother Robert, and 
Henry I followed his example for similar 
reasons. Each had to make election promises 
in the form of a charter; and election promises, 
although they were seldom kept, had some 
value as reminders to kings of their duties 
and theoretical dependence upon the electors. 
Gradually, too, the kings began to look for 


support outside their Norman baronage, and 
to realize that even the submerged EngHsh 
might serve as a makeweight in a balance of 
opposing forces. Henry I bid for London's 
support by the grant of a notable charter; 
for, assisted by the order and communications 
with the Continent fostered by Norman rule, 
commerce was beginning to flourish and towns 
to grow. London was already distancing 
Winchester in their common ambition to be 
the capital of the kingdom, and the support 
of it and of other towns began to be worth 
buying by grants of local government, more 
especially as their encouragement provided 
another check on feudal magnates. Henry, 
too, made a great appeal to English sentiment 
by marrying Matilda, the granddaughter of 
Edmund Ironside, and by revenging the bat- 
tle of Hastings through a conquest of Nor- 
mandy from his brother Robert, effected 
partly by English troops. 

But the order, which the three Norman 
sovereigns evolved out of chaos, was still 
due more to their personal vigour than to the 
strength of the administrative machinery 


which they sought to develop; and though 
that machinery continued to work during 
the anarchy which followed, it could not 
restrain the feudal barons, when the crown 
was disputed between Henry's daughter 
Matilda and his nephew Stephen. The barons, 
indeed, had been more successful in riveting 
their baronial yoke on the people than the 
kings had been in riveting a monarchical 
yoke on the barons; and nothing more vividly 
illustrates the utter subjection of Anglo- 
Saxons than the fact that the conquerors 
could afford to tear each other to pieces for 
nineteen years (1185-1154) without the least 
attempt on the part of their subjects to throw 
off their tyranny. There was no English 
nation yet; each feudal magnate did what 
he pleased with his own without fear of royal 
or popular vengeance, and for once in English 
history, at any rate, the lords vindicated their 
independence. The church was the only 
other body which profited by the strife; 
within its portals and its courts there was 
some law and order, some peace and refuge 
from the worldly welter; and it seized the 


opportunity to broaden its jurisdiction, mag- 
nify its law, exalt its privileges, and assert 
that to it belonged principally the right to 
elect and to depose sovereigns. Greater still 
would have been its services to civilization, 
had it been able to assert a power of putting 
down the barons from their castles and rais- 
ing the peasantry from their bondage. 

Deliverance could only come by royal 
power, and in Henry II, Matilda's son, 
Anjou gave England a greater king than 
Normandy had done in William the Bastard. 
Although a foreigner, who ruled a vast 
continental empire and spent but a fraction 
of his days on this side of the Channel, he 
stands second to none of England's makers. 
He fashioned the government which ham- 
mered together the framework of a national 
state. First, he gathered up such fragments 
of royal authority as survived the anarchy; 
then, with the conservative instincts and pre- 
tences of a radical, he looked about for prece- 
dents in the customs of his grandfather, 
proclaiming his intention of restoring good old 
laws. This reaction brought him up against 


the encroachments of the church, and the un- 
toward incident of Becket's murder impaired 
the success of Henry 's efforts to establish royal 
supremacy. But this supremacy must not 
be exaggerated. Henry did not usurp ecclesi- 
astical jurisdiction; he wanted to see that 
the clerical courts did their duty; he claimed 
the power of moving them in this direction; 
and he hoped to make the crown the arbiter 
of disputes between the rival spiritual and 
temporal jurisdictions, realizing that the only 
alternative to this supreme authority was 
the arbitrament of war. He also contended 
that clergy who had been unfrocked in the 
clerical courts for murder or other crimes 
should be handed over as laymen to be further 
punished according to the law of the land, 
while Becket maintained that unfrocking was 
a sufficient penalty for the first offence, and 
that it required a second murder to hang a 
former priest. 

Next, he sought to curb the barons. He 
instituted scutage, by which the great feuda- 
tories granted a money payment instead of 
bringing with them to the army hordes of 


their sub-tenants who might obey them rather 
than the king; this enabled the king to hire 
mercenaries who respected him but not the 
feudatories. He cashiered all the sheriffs 
at once, to explode their pretensions to heredi- 
tary tenure of their office. By the assize 
of arms he called the mass of Englishmen to 
redress the military balance between the 
barons and the crown. By other assizes 
he enabled the owners and possessors of 
property to appeal to the protection of the 
royal court of justice: instead of trial by 
battle they could submit their case to a jury 
of neighbours; and the weapons of the mili- 
tary expert were thus superseded by the 
/^^'^^verdicts of peaceful citizens. 

This method, which was extended to 
criminal as well as civil cases, of ascertain- 
ing the truth and deciding disputes by 
means of juratores, men sworn to tell the 
truth impartially, involved a vast educational 
process. Hitherto men had regarded the 
ascertainment of truth as a supernatural 
task, and they had abandoned it to Provi- 
dence or the priests. Each party to a dispute 


had been required to produce oath-helpers 
or compurgators and each compurgator's 
oath was valued according to his property, 
just as the number of a man's votes is still 
proportioned to some extent to his posses- 
sions. But if, as commonly happened, both 
parties produced the requisite oath-helpers, 
there was nothing for it but the ordeal by 
fire or water; the man who sank was inno- 
cent, he who floated guilty; and the only 
rational element in the ritual was its super- 
vision by the priests, who knew something 
of their parishioners' character. Military 
tenants, however, preferred their privilege 
of trial by battle. Now Henry began to teach 
men to rely upon their judgment; and by 
degrees a distinction was even made between 
murder and homicide, which had hitherto 
been confounded because "the thought of 
man shall not be tried, for the devil himself 
knoweth not the thought of man." 

In order to carry out his judicial reforms, 
Henry developed the curia regis, or royal 
court of justice. That court had simply been 
the court of the king's barons corresponding 


to the court of his tenants which every feudal 
lord possessed. Its financial aspect had 
already been specialized as the exchequer 
by the Norman kings, who had realized 
that finance is the first essential of efficient 
government. From finance Henry I had 
gone on to the administration of justice, 
because justitia magnum emolumentum, the 
administration of justice is a great source of 
profit. Henry II's zeal for justice sprang 
from similar motives: the more justice he 
could draw from the feudal courts to his own, 
the greater the revenue he would divert from 
his unruly barons into the royal exchequer. 
From the central stores of the curia regis he 
dispensed a justice that was cheaper, more 
expeditious, and more expert, than that 
provided by the local courts. He threw 
open its doors to all except villeins, he trans- 
formed it from an occasional assembly of 
warlike barons into a regular court of trained 
lawyers — ^mere servants of the royal house- 
hold, the barons called them; and by means 
of justices in eyre he brought it into touch 
with all localities in the kingdom, and con- 


vinced his people that there was a king who 
meant to govern with their help. 

These experts had a free hand as regards 
the law they administered. The old Anglo- 
Saxon customs which had done duty for law 
had degenerated into antiquated formalities, 
varying in almost every shire and hundred, 
which were perforce ignored by Henry's 
judges because they were incomprehensible. 
So much as they understood and approved 
they blended with principles drawn from 
the revived study of Roman law and with 
Frankish and Norman customs. The legal 
rules thus elaborated by the king's court 
were applied by the justices in eyre where- 
ever their circuits took them, and became in 
time the common law of England, common 
because it admitted no local bars and no 
provincial prejudices. One great stride had 
been taken in the making of the English 
nation, when the king's court, trespassing 
upon local popular and feudal jurisdiction, 
dumped upon the Anglo-Saxon market the 
following among other foreign legal concepts 
— assize, circuit, suit, plaintiff, defendant. 


maintenance, livery, possession, property, 
probate, recovery, trespass, treason, felony, 
fine, coroner, court, inquest, judge, jury, 
justice, verdict, taxation, charter, liberty, 
representation, parliament, and constitution. 
It is difiicult to over-estimate the debt the 
English people owe to their powers of absorb- 
ing imports. The very w^atch words of prog- 
ress and catchwords of liberty, from the 
trial by jury which was ascribed to Alfred 
the Great to the charter extorted from John, 
were alien immigrants. We call them alien be- 
cause they were alien to the Anglo-Saxons; but 
they are the warp and woof of English institu- 
tions, which are too great and too complex to 
have sprung from purely insular sources. 

In spite of the fierce opposition of the 
barons, who rebelled in 1173, and of disputes 
with his fractious children which embittered 
his closing years, Henry II had laid the foun- 
dations of national monarchy. But in com- 
pleting one part of the Norman Conquest, 
namely, the establishment of royal supremacy 
over disorderly feudatories, he had modified 
the other, the arbitrary rule of the barons over 


the subject people. William had only con- 
quered the people by the help of his barons; 
Henry II only crushed the barons with the 
help of lower orders and of ministers raised 
from the ranks. It was left for his sons to 
alienate the support which he had enlisted, and 
to show that, if the first condition of progi'ess 
was the restraint of the barons, the second 
was the curbing of the crown. Their reigns 
illustrate the ineradicable defect of arbitrary 
rule: a monarch of genius creates an efficient 
despotism, and is allowed to create it, to deal 
with evils that yield to no milder treatment. 
His successors proceed to use that machinery 
for personal ends. Richard I gilded his abuse 
of his father's power with the glory of his cru- 
sade, and the end afforded a plausible justi- 
fication for the means he adopted. But John 
cloaked his tyranny with no specious pretences; 
his greed and violence spared no section of the 
community, and forced all into a coalition 
which extorted from him the Great Charter. 

This famous document betrays its compos- 
ite authorship; no section of the community 
entered the coalition without something to 


gain, and none went entirely unrewarded 
from Runnymede. But if Sir Henry Spel- 
man introduced feudalism into England, his 
contemporary, Chief -justice Coke, invented 
Magna Carta: and in view of the profound 
misconceptions which prevail with regard to 
its character, it is necessary to insist rather 
upon its reactionary than upon its reforming 
elements. The great source of error lies 
in the change which is always insensibly, 
but sometimes completely, transforming the 
meaning of words. Generally the change has 
been from the concrete to the abstract, 
because in their earlier stages of education 
men find it very difficult to grasp anything 
which is not concrete. The word "liberty" 
affords a good illustration: in 1215 a "lib- 
erty" was the possession by a definite person 
or group of persons of very definite and tangi- 
ble privileges, such as having a court of your 
own with its perquisites, or exemption from 
the duties of attending the public courts of 
the shire or hundred, of rendering the serv- 
ices or of paying the dues to which the 
majority were liable. The value of a "lib- 


erty" was that through its enjoyment you 
were not as other men; the barons would 
have cared httle for Hberties which they had 
to share with the common herd. To them 
liberty meant privilege and monopoly; it 
was not a general right to be enjoyed in 
common. Now Magna Carta is a charter 
not of "liberty," but of "liberties"; it 
guaranteed to each section of the coalition 
those special privileges which Henry II and 
his sons had threatened or taken away. Some 
of these liberties were dangerous obstacles to 
the common welfare — for instance the "lib- 
erty" of every lord of the manor to try all 
suits relating to property and possession in 
his own manorial court, or to be punished by 
his fellow-barons instead of by the judges of 
the king's court. This was what the barons 
meant by their famous demand in Magna 
Carta that every man should be judged by 
his peers; they insisted that the royal judges 
were not their peers, but only servants of the 
crown, and their demands in these respects 
were reactionary proposals which might have 
been fatal to liberty as we conceive it. 


Nor is there anything about trial by jury 
or "no taxation without representation" in 
Magna Carta. What we mean by "trial by 
jury" was not developed till long after 1215; 
there was still no national, but only class 
taxation; and the great council, which was 
to give its assent to royal demands for money, 
represented nobody but the tenants-in-chief 
of whom it was composed. All that the 
barons meant by this clause was that they, as 
feudal tenants-in-chief, were not to pay more 
than the ordinary feudal dues. But they left 
to the king, and they reserved to themselves, 
the right to tallage their villeins as arbi- 
trarily as they pleased; and even where they 
seem to be protecting the villeins, they are 
only preventing the king from levying such 
judicial fines from their villeins as would make 
it impossible for those villeins to render their 
services to the lords. It was to be no affair 
of the king or nation if a lord exacted the 
uttermost farthing from his own chattels; 
legally, the villeins, who were the bulk of the 
nation, remained after Magna Carta, as 
before, in the position of a man's ox or horse 


to-day, except that there was no law for the 
prevention of cruelty to animals. Finally, the 
provision that no one was to be arrested until 
he had been convicted would, if carried out, 
have made impossible the administration of 

On the other hand, the provisions for the 
fixing of the court of common pleas at West- 
minster, for standard weights and measures, 
for the administration of law by men ac- 
quainted with English customs, and some 
others were wholesome reforms. The first 
clause, guaranteeing that the church should 
be free from royal (not papal) encroachments, 
was sound enough when John was king, and 
the general restraint of his authority, even 
in the interests of the barons, was not an 
unmixed evil. But it is as absurd to think 
that John conceded modern liberty when he 
granted the charter of medieval liberties, as 
to think that he permitted some one to found 
a new religion when he licensed him to endow 
a new religious house (novam religionem); 
and to regard Magna Carta as a great popular 
achievement, when no vernacular version of it 


is known to have existed before the sixteenth 
century, and when it contains hardly a word 
or an idea of popular English origin, involves 
complete misunderstanding of its meaning and 
a serious antedating of English nationahty. 

At no time, indeed, did foreign influence 
appear more dominant in English politics than 
during the generation which saw Richard I 
surrender his kingdom to be held as a fief 
of the empire, and John surrender it to be 
held as a temporal fief of the papacy; or 
when, in the reign of Henry III, a papal legate, 
Gualo, administered England as a province 
of the Papal States; when a foreign freebooter 
was sheriff of six English shires; and when 
aliens held in their hands the castles and 
keys of the kingdom. It was a dark hour 
which preceded the dawn of English nation- 
ality, and so far there was no sign of English 
indignation at the bartering of England's inde- 
pendence. Resistance there was, but it came 
from men who were only a degree less alien 
than those whose domination they resented. 

Yet a governing class, planted by Henry II, 
was striking root in English soil and drawing 


nourishment and inspiration from English 
feelings. It was reinforced by John's loss 
of Normandy, which compelled bi-national 
barons who held lands in both countries to 
choose between their French and English 
sovereigns; and those who preferred England 
became more English than they had been 
before. The French invasion of England, 
which followed John's repudiation of the 
charter, widened the cleavage; and there 
was something national, if little that was 
English, in the government of Hubert de 
Burgh, and still more in the naval victory 
which Hubert and the men of the Cinque 
Ports won over the French in the Straits of 
Dover in 1217. But not a vestige of national 
feeling animated Henry III; and for twenty- 
five wearisome years after he had attained 
his majority he strove to govern England by 
means of alien relatives and dependents. 

The opposition offered by the great coun- 
cil was baronial rather than national; the 
revolt in which it ended was a revolt of the 
half-breeds rather than a revolt of the Eng- 
lish; and the government they established in 


1258 was merely a legalized form of baronial 
anarchy. But there was this difference be- 
tween the anarchy of Stephen's reign and that 
of Henry Ill's: now, when the foreigners 
fell out, the English began to come by their 
own. A sort of "young England" party 
fell foul of both the barons and the king; 
Simon de Montfort detached himself from 
the baronial brethren with whom he had 
acted, and boldly placed himself at the head 
of a movement for securing England for the 
English. He summoned representatives from 
cities and boroughs to sit side by side with 
greater and lesser barons in the great council 
of the realm, which now became an English 
parliament; and for the first time since the 
Norman Conquest men of the subject race 
were called up to deliberate on national 
affairs. It does not matter whether this 
was the stroke of a statesman's genius or the 
lucky improvisation of a party-leader. Simon 
fell, but his work remained; Prince Edward, 
who copied his tactics at Evesham, copied his 
politics in 1275 and afterwards at Westmin- 
ster; and under the first sovereign since the 


Norman Conquest who bore an English name, 
the English people received their national liv- 
ery and the seisin of their inheritance. 




In 1265, simultaneously with the appear- 
ance of English townsfolk in parliament, an 
official document couched in the English 
tongue appeared like a first peak above the 
subsiding flood of foreign language. When, 
three generations back. Abbot Samson had 
preached English sermons, they were noted as 
exceptions ; but now the vernacular language 
of the subject race was forcing its way into 
higher circles, and even into literary use. The 
upper classes were learning English, and those 
whose normal tongue was English were thrust- 
ing themselves into, or at any rate upon the 
notice of, the higher strata of society. 

The two normal ranks of feudal society had 
in England naturally been French lords and 


English tillers of the soil; but commerce had 
never accommodated itself to this agricultural 
system, and the growth of trade, of town^, of 
other forms of wealth than land, tended con- 
currently to break down French and feudal 
domination. A large number of towns had 
been granted, or rather sold, charters by 
Richard I and John, not because those 
monarchs were interested in municipal de- 
velopment, but because they wanted money, 
and in their rights of jurisdiction over towns 
on the royal domain they possessed a ready 
marketable commodity. The body which 
had the means to pay the king's price was 
generally the local merchant guild; and while 
these transactions developed local govern- 
ment, they did not necessarily promote popu- 
lar self-government, because the merchant 
guild was a wealthy oligarchical body, and 
it might exercise the jurisdiction it had bought 
from the king in quite as narrow and harsh 
a spirit as he had done. The consequent 
quarrels between town oligarchies and town 
democracies do not, however, justify the 
common assumption that there had once 


been an era of municipal democracy which 
gradually gave way to oligarchy and corrup- 
tion. Nevertheless, these local bodies were 
English, and legally their members had been 
villeins; and their experience in local govern- 
ment prepared them for admittance to that 
share in national government which the de- 
velopment of taxation made almost necessary. 
Henry II's scheme of active and compre- 
hensive administration, indeed, led by a 
natural sequence to the parliament of Edward 
I and further. The more a government tries 
to do, the more taxation it must impose; and 
the broadening of the basis of taxation led 
gradually to the broadening of the basis of 
representation, for taxation is the mother 
of representation. So long as real property 
only — that is to say, the ownership of land — 
was taxed, the great council contained only 
the great landowners. But Henry II had 
found it necessary to tax personalty as well, 
both clerical and lay, and so by slow steps his 
successors in the thirteenth century were 
driven to admit payers of taxes on personalty 
to the great council. This representative 


system must not be regarded as a concession 
to a popular demand for national self-govern- 
ment. When in 1791 a beneficent British 
parliament granted a popular assembly to 
the French Canadians, they looked askance 
and muttered, '^C'est une machine anglaise 
pour nous taxer^'; and Edward I's people 
would have been justified in entertaining the 
suspicion that it was their money he wanted, 
not their advice, and still less their control. 
He wished taxes to be voted in the royal 
palace at Westminster, just as Henry I had in- 
sisted upon bishops being elected in the royal 
chapel. In the royal presence burgesses and 
knights of the shire would be more liberal with 
their constituents' money than those con- 
stituents would be with their own when there 
were neighbours to encourage resistance to 
a merely distant terror. 

The representation people had enjoyed in 
the shire and hundred moots had been a boon, 
not because it enabled a few privileged persons 
to attend, but because by their attendance 
the mass were enabled to stay away. If the 
lord or his steward would go in person, his 


attendance exempted all his tenants; if he 
would not, the reeve and four "best" men 
from each township had to go. The "best," 
moreover, were not chosen bj^ election; the 
duty and burden was attached to the "best" 
holdings in the township, and in the thirteenth 
century the sheriff was hard put to it to secure 
an adequate representation. This "suit of 
court" was, in fact, an obligatory service, and 
membership of parliament was long regarded 
in a similar light. Parliament did not clamour 
to be created; it was forced by an enlightened 
monarchy on a less enlightened people. A 
parliamentary "summons" had the impera- 
tive, minatory sound which now only attaches 
to its police court use; and centuries later 
members were occasionally "bound over" to 
attend at Westminster, and prosecuted if 
they failed. On one occasion the two knights 
for Oxfordshire fled the country on hearing 
of their election, and were proclaimed out- 
laws. Members of parliament were, in fact, 
the scapegoats for the people, who were all 
"intended" or understood to be present in 
parliament, but enjoyed the privilege of 


absence through representation. The greater 
barons never secured this privilege; they 
had to come in person when summoned, just 
as they had to serve in person when the king 
went to the wars. Gradually, of course, this 
attitude towards representation changed as 
parliament grasped control of the public 
purse, and with it the power of taxing its foes 
and sparing its friends. In other than finan- 
cial matters it began to pay to be a member; 
and then it suited magnates not only to come 
in person but to represent the people in the 
Lower House, the social quality of which de- 
veloped with the growth of its power. Only 
in very recent times has the House of Com- 
mons again included such representatives as 
these whose names are taken from the official 
returns for the parliaments of Edward I : John 
the Baker, William the Tailor, Thomas the 
Summoner, Andrew the Piper, Walter the 
Spicer, Roger the Draper, Richard the Dyer, 
Henry the Butcher, Durant the Cordwainer, 
John the Taverner, William the Red of Bide- 
ford, Citizen Richard (Ricardus Civis), and 
William the priest's son. 


The appearance of emancipated villeins 
side by side with earls and prelates in the 
great council of the realm is the most sig- 
nificant fact of thirteenth-century English 
history. The people of England were begin- 
ning to have a history which was not merely 
that of an alien government; and their 
emergence is traceable not only in language, 
literature, and local and national politics, but 
also in the art of war. Edward I discovered 
in his Welsh wars that the long-bow was 
more ejfficient than the weapons of the knight; 
and his grandson won English victories at 
Cregy and Poitiers with a weapon which was 
within the reach of the simple yeoman. The 
discovery of gunpowder and development of 
artillery soon proved as fatal to the feudal 
castle as the long-bow had to the mailed 
knight; and when the feudal classes had lost 
their predominance in the art of war, and with 
it their monopoly of the power of protection, 
both the reasons for their existence and 
their capacity to maintain it were under- 
mined. They took to trade, or, at least, to 
money-making out of land, like ordinary 


citizens, and thus entered into a competition 
in which they had not the same assurance of 

Edward I's greatness consists mainly in his 
practical appreciation of these tendencies. 
He was less original, but more fortunate in 
his opportunity, than Henry II. The time 
had come to set limits to the encroachments 
of feudalism and of the church, and Edward 
was able to impose them because, unlike 
Henry II, he had the elements of a nation at 
his back. He was not able to sweep back these 
inroads, but he placed high-water marks along 
the frontiers of the state, and saw that they 
were not transgressed. He inquired into the 
titles by which the great lords held those 
portions of sovereign authority which they 
called their liberties; but he could take no 
further action when Earl Warenne produced 
a rusty sword as his effective title-deeds. 
He prohibited further subinfeudation by en- 
acting that when an estate was sold, the 
purchaser should become the vassal of the 
vendor's lord and not of the vendor himself; 
and the social pyramid was thus rendered 


more stable, because its base was broadened 
instead of its height being increased. He ex- 
pelled the Jews as aliens, in spite of their 
usefulness to the crown; he encouraged com- 
merce by making profits from land liable to 
seizure for debt; and he defined the jurisdic- 
tion of the church, though he had to leave it 
authority over all matters relating to mar- 
riage, wills, perjury, tithes, offences against 
the clergy, and ecclesiastical buildings. He 
succeeded, however, in defiance of its oppo- 
sition, in making church property liable to 
temporal taxation, and in passing a Mortmain 
Act which prohibited the giving of land to 
monasteries or other corporations without 
the royal licence. 

By thus increasing the national control over 
the church in England, he made the church 
itself more national. It is sometimes implied 
that the church was equally national through- 
out the Middle Ages; but it is difficult to 
speak of a national church before there was 
a nation, or to see that there was anything 
really English in a church ruled by Lanfranc 
or Anselm, when there was not an Englishman 


on the bishops' bench, when the vast majority 
of Englishmen were legally incapable as 
villeins of even taking orders in the church, 
and when the vernacular language had been 
ousted from its services. But with the Eng- 
lish nation grew an English church; Grosse- 
teste denounced the dominance of aliens in 
the church, while Simon de Montfort de- 
nounced it in the state. It was, however, by 
secular authority that the English church was 
differentiated from the church abroad. It 
was the barons and not the bishops who had 
resisted the assimilation of English to Roman 
canon law, and it was Edward I, and not 
Archbishops Peckham and Winchilsey, who 
defied Pope Boniface VIII. Archbishops, 
indeed, still placed their allegiance to the pope 
above that to their king. 

The same sense of national and insular 
solidarity which led Edward to defy the 
papacy also inspired his efforts to conquer 
Wales and Scotland. Indeed, it was the 
refusal of the church to pay taxes in the crisis 
of the Scottish war that provoked the quarrel 
with Boniface. But, while Edward was sue- 


cessful in Wales, he encountered in Scotland 
a growing national spirit not altogether unlike 
that upon which Edward himself relied in 
England. Nor was English patriotism suffi- 
ciently developed to counteract the sectional 
feelings which took advantage of the king's 
embarrassments. The king's necessity was 
his subjects' opportunity, and the Confirma- 
tion of Charters extorted from him in 1297 
stands, it is said, to the Great Charter of 1215 
in the relation of substance to shadow, of 
achievement to promise. Edward, however, 
gave away much less than has often been 
imagined; he certainly did not abandon his 
right to tallage the towns, and the lustre of 
his motto, "Keep troth," is tarnished by his' 
application to the pope for absolution from 
his promises. Still, he was a great king who 
served England well by his efforts to eliminate 
feudalism from the sphere of government, 
and by his insistence on the doctrine that 
what touches all should be approved by all. 
If to some catholic medievalists his reign 
seems a climax in the ascent of the English 
people, a climax to be followed by a prolonged 


recessional, it is because the national forces 
which he fostered were soon to make irrep- 
arable breaches in the superficial unity of 

The miserable reign of his worthless suc- 
cessor, Edward II, illustrated the importance 
of the personal factor in the monarchy, and 
also showed how incapable the barons were of 
supplying the place of the feeblest king. Both 
parties failed because they took no account 
of the commons of England or of national 
interests. The leading baron, Thomas of 
Lancaster, was executed; Edward II was 
murdered; and his assassin, Mortimer, was 
put to death by Edward III, who grasped 
some of the significance of his grandfather's 
success and his father's failure. He felt the 
national impulse, but he twisted it to serve 
a selfish and dynastic end. It must not, 
however, be supposed that the Hundred 
Years' War originated in Edward's claim to 
the French throne; that claim was invented 
to provide a colourable pretext for French 
feudatories to fight their sovereign in a war 
which was due to other causes. There was 


Scotland, for instance, which France wished 
to save from Edward's clutches; there were 
the English possessions in Gascony and 
Guienne, from which the French king hoped 
to oust his rival; there were bickerings about 
the lordship of the Narrow Seas which Eng- 
land claimed under Edward II; and there 
was the wool-market in the Netherlands which 
England wanted to control. The French 
nation, in fact, was feeling its feet as well as 
the English; and a collision was only natural, 
especially in Guienne and Gascony. Henry II 
had been as natural a sovereign in France as 
in England, because he was quite as much a 
Frenchman as an Englishman. But since 
then the kings of England had grown English, 
and their dominion over soil which was grow- 
ing French became more and more unnatural. 
The claim to the throne, however, gave 
the struggle a bitter and fruitless character; 
and the national means, which Edward 
employed to maintain the war, only delayed 
its inevitably futile end. It was supported by 
wealth derived from national commerce with 
Flanders and Gascony; national armies were 


raised by enlistment to replace the feudal 
levy; the national long-bow and not the 
feudal war-horse won the battles of Cregy and 
Poitiers; and command of the sea secured 
by a national navy enabled Edward to win 
the victory of Sluys and complete the reduc- 
tion of Calais. War, moreover, required extra 
supplies in unprecedented amounts, and they 
took the form of national taxes, voted by 
the House of Commons, which supplemented 
and then supplanted the feudal aids as the 
mainstay of royal finance. 

Control of these supplies brought the 
House of Commons into constitutional promi- 
nence. It was no mere Third Estate after 
the continental model, for knights of the shire 
sat side by side with burgesses and citizens; 
and knights of the shire were the lesser barons, 
who, receiving no special writ of summons, 
cast in their lot with the Lower and not with 
the Upper House. Parliament had separated 
into two Houses in the reign of Edward II — 
for Edward I's Model Parliament had been a 
Single Chamber, though doubtless it voted 
by classes — but the House of Commons 


represented the communities of the realm, and 
not its lower orders; or rather, it concen- 
trated all these communities — shires, cities, 
and boroughs — and welded them into a single 
community of the realm. It thus created a 
nucleus for national feeling, which gradually 
cured the localism of early England and the 
sectionalism of feudal society; and it de- 
veloped an esprit de corps which counteracted 
the influence of the court. The advantages 
which the crown may have hoped to secure by 
bringing representatives up to Westminster, 
and thus detaching them from their basis of 
local resistance, were frustrated by the 
solidarity and consistency which grew up 
among members of parliament; and this 
growing national consciousness supplanted 
local consciousness as the safeguard of con- 
stitutional liberty. 

Most of the principles and expedients of 
representative government were adumbrated 
during this first flush of English national- 
ism, which has been called "the age of the 
Commons." The petitions, by which alone 
parliament had been able to express its 


grievances, were turned into bills which the 
crown had to answer, not evasively, but by 
a thinly veiled "y^s" or "no." The granting 
of taxes was made conditional upon the 
redress of grievances; the crown finally lost 
its right to tallage; and its powers of inde- 
pendent taxation were restricted to the 
levying of the "ancient customs" upon dry 
goods and wines. If it required more than 
these and than the proceeds from the royal 
domains, royal jurisdiction, and diminishing 
feudal aids, it had to apply to parliament. 
The expense of the Hundred Years' War ren- 
dered such applications frequent; and they 
were used by the Commons to increase their 
constitutional power. Attempts were made 
with varying success to assert that the minis- 
ters of the crown, both local and national, were 
responsible to parliament, and that money- 
grants could only originate in the House of 
Commons, which might appropriate taxes to 
specific objects and audit accounts so as to 
see that the appropriation was carried out. 

The growth of national feeling led also to 
limitations of papal power. Early in Edward 


Ill's reign a claim was made that the king, in 
virtue of his anointing at coronation, could 
exercise spiritual jurisdiction, and the statutes 
of Prcemunire and Provisors prohibited the 
exercise in England of the pope's powers 
of judicature and appointment to benefices 
without the royal licence, though royal 
connivance and popular acquiescence enabled 
the papacy to enjoy these privileges for nearly 
two centuries longer. National feeling waa 
particularly inflamed against the papacy 
because the "Babylonish captivity" of the 
pope at Avignon made him appear an instru- 
ment in the hands of England's enemy, the 
king of France; and that captivity was fol- 
lowed by the "Great Schism," during which 
the quarrels of two, and then three, popes, 
simultaneously claiming to be the only head 
of the church on earth, undermined respect 
for their office. These circumstances com- 
bined with the wealth and corruption of the 
church to provoke the Lollard movement, 
which was the ecclesiastical aspect of the 
democratic tendencies of the age. 
One of the most striking illustrations of 


popular development was the demand for 
vernacular versions of the Scriptures, which 
Wy cliff e met by his translation of the Bible. 
At the same time Langland made literature 
for the common people out of their common 
lot, a fact that can hardly be understood un- 
less we remember that villeins, although they 
might be fined by their lords for so doing, were 
sending their sons in increasing numbers to 
schools, which were eventually thrown open to 
them by the Statute of Labourers in 1406. 
The fact that Chaucer wrote in English shows 
how the popular tongue was becoming the 
language of the court and educated classes. 
Town chronicles and the records of guilds 
and companies began to be written in English; 
legal proceedings are taken in the same 
tongue, though the law-reports continued to 
be written in French; and after a struggle 
between French and Latin, even the laws are 
drawn up in English. That the church 
persisted, naturally enough, in its usage of 
catholic Latin, tended to increase its alien- 
ation from popular sympathies. Wy cliff e 
represented this national feeling when he ap- 


pealed to national authority to reform a 
corrupt Catholic church, and when he finally 
denied that power of miraculous transub- 
stantiation, upon which ultimately was based 
the claim of the priesthood to special privi- 
leges and estimation. But his association with 
the extreme forms of social agitation, which ac- 
companied the Lollard movement, is less clear. 
Before the end of Edward Ill's reign the 
French war had produced a crop of disgrace, 
disorder, and discontent. Heavy taxation 
had not availed to retain the provinces ceded 
to England at the Treaty of Bretigny in 1360, 
and hordes of disbanded soldiery exploited 
the social disorganization produced by the 
Black Death; a third of the population was 
swept away, and many villeins deserted their 
land to take up the more attractive labour 
provided in towns by growing crafts and 
manufactures. The lords tried by drastic 
measures to exact the services from villeins 
which there were not enough villeins to 
perform; and the imposition of a poll-tax 
was the signal for a comprehensive revolt of 
town artisans and agricultural labourers in 


1381. Its failure did not long impede their 
emancipation, and the process of commuting 
services for rent seems to have gone on more 
rapidly in the first half of the fifteenth than 
in the fourteenth centiu'y. But the passionate 
preaching of social equality which inflamed 
the minds of the insurgents produced no 
further results; in their existing condition 
of political education, the peasant and artisan 
had perforce to be content with watching the 
struggles of higher classes for power. 

Jlichard II, who had succeeded his grand- 
father in 1377, reaped the whirlwind of 
Edward's sowing, not so much in the conse- 
quences of the war as in the fruits of his peer- 
age policy. The fourteenth century which 
nationalized the Commons, isolated the Lords; 
and the baronage shrank into the peerage. 
The word "peer" is not of English origin, nor 
has it any real English meaning. Its etymo- 
logical meaning of "equal" does not carry us 
very far; for a peer may be equal to anything. 
But the peers, consisting as they do of arch- 
bishops, dukes, marquises, earls, viscounts, 
bishops, and barons, of peers who are lords 


of parliament and of peers who are neither 
lords of parliament nor electors to the House 
of Commons, are not even equal to one an- 
other; and certainly they would deny that 
other people were equal to them. The use 
of the word in its modern sense was borrowed 
from France in the fourteenth century; but 
in France it had a meaning which it could not 
have in England. A peer in France claimed 
equality with the crown; that is to say, he 
was the ruler of one of the great fiefs which 
had been equal to the county of Paris when 
the count of Paris had been elected by his 
equals king of France. If the king of Wessex 
had been elected king of England by the other 
kings of the Heptarchy, and if those other 
kings had left successors, those successors 
might have claimed to be peers in a real 
sense. But they had no such pretensions; 
they were simply greater barons, who had 
been the tenants-at-will of their king. 

The barons, however, of William I or 
Henry II had been a large class of com- 
paratively small men, while the peers of 
Richard II were a small class of big men. The 


mass of lesser barons had been separated from 
the greater barons, and had been merged in the 
landed gentry who were represented by the 
knights of the shire in the House of Commons. 
The greater barons were summoned by 
special and individual writs to the House of 
Lords; but there was nothing to fetter the 
crown in its issue of these writs. The fact 
that a great baron was summoned once, did 
not mean that he need be summoned again, 
and the summons of the father did not involve 
the summons of his eldest son and successor. 
But gradually the greater barons made this 
summons hereditary and robbed the crown of 
all discretion in the matter, though it was not 
till the reign of Charles I that the House of 
Lords decided in its own favour the question 
whether the crown had the power to refuse a 
writ of summons to a peer who had once 
received one. 

With this narrowing of the baronage, the 
barons lost the position they had held in the 
thirteenth century as leaders of constitutional 
reform, and this part was plaj^ed in the four- 
teenth century by the knights of the shire. 


The greater barons devoted themselves rather 
to family than to national politics; and a 
system of breeding-in amalgamated many 
small houses into a few great ones. Thomas 
of Lancaster held ^ve earldoms; he was the 
rival of Edward II, and might well be called 
a peer of the crown. Edward III, perceiving 
the menace of these great houses to the crown, 
tried to capture them in its interests by means 
of marriages between his sons and great 
heiresses. The Black Prince married the 
daughter of the Earl of Kent; Lionel became 
Earl of Ulster in the right of his wife; John of 
Gaunt married the heiress of Lancaster and 
became Duke of Lancaster; Thomas of Wood- 
stock married the heiress of the Bohuns, Earls 
of Essex and of Hereford; the descendants of 
Edmund, Duke of York, absorbed the great 
rival house of Mortimer; and other great 
houses were brought within the royal family 
circle. New titles were imported from abroad 
to emphasize the new dignity of the greater 
barons. Hitherto there had been barons only, 
and a few earls whose dignity was an office; 
now by Edward III and Richard II there 


were added dukes, marquises, and viscounts, 
and England might boast of a peerage nearly, 
if not quite, as dangerous to the crown as that 
of France. For Edward's policy failed: in- 
stead of securing the great houses in the 
interests of the crown, it degraded the crown 
to the arena of peerage rivalries, and ulti- 
mately made it the prize of noble factions. 

Richard II was not the man to deal with 
these over-mighty subjects. He may perhaps 
be described as a "New " monarch born before 
his time. He had some of the notions which 
the Tudors subsequently developed with 
success; but he had none of their power and 
self-control, and he was faced from his ac- 
cession by a band of insubordinate uncles. 
Moreover, it needed the Wars of the Roses 
finally to convince the country of the meaning 
of the independence of the peerage. Richard 
fell a victim to his own impatience and their 
turbulence. Henry IV came to the throne as 
the king of the peers, and hardly maintained 
his uneasy crown against their rival ambitions. 
The Commons, by constitutional reform, re- 
duced almost to insignificance a sovereignty 


which the Lords could not overthrow by rebel- 
lion; and by insisting that the king should 
"live of his own," without taxing the country, 
deprived him of the means of orderly govern- 
ment. Their ideal constitution approached 
so nearly to anarchy that it is impossible not 
to suspect collusion between them and the 
Lords. The church alone could Henry placate 
by passing his statute for burning heretics. 

Henry V took refuge from this domestic 
imbroglio in a spirited foreign policy, and put 
forward a claim more hollow than Edward 
Ill's to the throne of France. There were 
temptations in the hopeless condition of 
French affairs which no one but a statesman 
could have resisted; Henry, a brilliant soldier 
and a bigoted churchman, was anything but 
a statesman; and the value of his church- 
manship may be gauged from the fact that he 
assumed the insolence of a crusader against 
a nation more catholic than his own. He won 
a deplorably splendid victory at Agincourt, 
married the French king's daughter, and was 
crowned king of France. Then he died in 1422, 
leaving a son nine months old, with nothing 


but success in the impossible task of sub- 
duing France to save the Lancastrian dynasty 
from the nemesis of vaulting ambition abroad 
and problems shelved at home. 

Step by step the curse of war came home 
to roost. Henry V's abler but less brilliant 
brother, Bedford, stemmed till his death the 
rising tide of English faction and French 
patriotism. Then the expulsion of the English 
from France began, and a long tale of failure 
discredited the government. The nation had 
spirit enough to resent defeat, but not the 
means to avoid it; and strife between the 
peace party and the war party in the govern- 
ment resolved itself into a faction fight 
between Lancastrians and Yorkists. The 
consequent impotence of the government 
provoked a bastard feudal anarchy, main- 
tained by hirelings instead of liegemen. Local 
factions fought with no respect for the law, 
which was administered, if at all, in the inter- 
ests of one or other of the great factions at 
court; and these two great factions fostered 
and organized local parties till the strife be- 
tween them grew into the Wars of the Roses. 


Those wars are perhaps the most puzzling 
episode in Enghsh history. The action of an 
organized government is comparatively easy 
to follow, but it is impossible to analyze the 
politics of anarchy. The Yorkist claim to 
the throne was not the cause of the war; it 
was, like Edward Ill's claim to the throne of 
France, merely a matter of tactics, and was 
only played as a trump card. No political, 
constitutional, or religious principle was at 
stake; and the more peaceable, organized 
parts of the community took little share in 
the struggle. No great battle was fought 
south of the Thames, and no town stood a 
siege. It looks as though the great military 
and feudal specialists, whose power lay 
principally on the Borders, were engaged in 
a final internecine struggle for the control 
of England, in somewhat the same way as 
the Ostmark or East Border of the Empire 
became Austria, and the Nordmark or North 
Border became Prussia, and in turn domi- 
nated Germany. Certainly the defeat of these 
forces was a victory for southern and eastern 
England, and for the commercial and mari- 


time interests on which its growing wealth 
and prosperity hung; and the most important 
point in the wars was not the triumph of 
Edward IV over the Lancastrians in 1461, 
but his triumph over Warwick, the king- 
maker, ten years later. The New Monarchy 
has been plausibly dated from 1471; but 
Edward IV had not the political genius to 
work out in detailed administration the re- 
sults of the victory which he owed to his mili- 
tary skill, and Richard III, who possessed 
the ability, made himself impossible as a king 
by the crimes he had to commit in order 
to reach the throne. The reconstruction of 
English government on a broader and firmer 
national basis was therefore left to Henry 
VII and the House of Tudor. 




England had passed through the Middle 
Ages without giving any sign of the greatness 
which awaited its future development. Ed- 


ward III and Henry V had won temporary 
renown in France, but English sovereigns had 
failed to subjugate the smaller countries of 
Scotland and Ireland, which were more imme- 
diately their concern. Wy cliff e and Chaucer, 
with perhaps Roger Bacon, are the only 
English names of first importance in the 
realms of medieval thought and literature, 
unless we put Bede (673-735) in the Middle 
Ages; for insular genius does not seem to 
have flourished under ecumenical inspira- 
tion; and even Wy cliff e and Chaucer may be 
claimed as products of the national rather 
than of the catholic spirit. But with the 
transition from medieval to modern history, 
the conditions were altered in England's 
favour. The geographical expansion of Eu- 
rope made the outposts of the Old World the 
entrepots for the New; the development of 
navigation and sea-power changed the ocean 
from the limit into the link of empires; and 
the growth of industry and commerce revolu- 
tionized the social and financial foundations 
of power. National states were forming; the 
state which could best adapt itself to these 


changed and changing conditions would out- 
distance its rivals; and its capacity to adapt 
itself to them would largely depend on the 
strength and flexibility of its national organi- 
zation. It was the achievement of the New 
Monarchy to fashion this organization, and to 
rescue the country from an anarchy which 
had already given other powers the start in 
the race and promised little success for 

Henry VII had to begin in a quiet, unos- 
tentatious way with very scanty materials. 
With a bad title and many pretenders, with 
an evil heritage of social disorder, he must 
have been sorely tempted to indulge in the 
heroics of Henry V. He followed a sounder 
business policy, and his reign is dull, because 
he gave peace and prosperity at home without 
fighting a battle abroad. His foreign policy 
was dictated by insular interests regardless of 
personal glory; and the security of his king- 
dom and the trade of his people were the aims 
of all his treaties with other powers. At home 
he carefully depressed the over-mighty subjects 
who had made the Wars of the Roses; he kept 


down their number with such success that he 
left behind him only one English duke and one 
English marquis; he limited their retainers, 
and restrained by means of the Star Chamber 
their habits of maintaining lawbreakers, pack- 
ing juries, and intimidating judges. By a 
careful distribution of fines and benevolences 
he filled his exchequer without taxing the mass 
of his people; and by giving oiEce to ecclesias- 
tics and men of humble origin he both secured 
cheaper and more efficient administration, 
and established a check upon feudal influence. 
He was determined that no Englishman 
should build any castle walls over which the 
English king could not look, and that, as far as 
possible, no private person should possess a 
franchise in which the king's writ did not run. 
He left to his son, Henry VIII, a stable throne 
and a united kingdom. 

The first half of Henry VIII's reign left 
little mark on English history. Wolsey 
played a brilliant but essentially futile part 
on the diplomatic stage, where the rivalry 
and balance of forces between the Emperor 
Charles V and Francis I of France helped him 


to pose as the arbiter of Christendom. But he 
obtained no permanent national gains; and 
the final result of his foreign policy was to 
make the emperor master of the papacy at 
the moment when Henry wanted the pope to 
annul his marriage with the emperor's aunt, 
Catherine of Aragon. Henry desired a son 
to succeed him and to prevent the recurrence 
of dynastic wars; he had only a daughter, 
Mary, and no woman had yet ruled or reigned 
in England. The death of all his male children 
by Catherine convinced him that his marriage 
with his deceased brother Arthur's widow 
was invalid; and his passion for Anne Boleyn 
added zest to his suit for a divorce. The pope 
could not afford to quarrel with Charles 
V, who cared little, indeed, for the cause of 
his aunt, but much for his cousin Mary's 
claim to the English throne; and in 1529 
Henry began the process, completed in the 
acts of Annates, Appeals, and Supremacy, 
by which England severed its connexion with 
Rome, and the king became head of an 
English church. 

It is irrational to pretend that so durable 


an achievement was due to so transient a 
cause as Henry's passion for Anne Boleyn or 
desire for a son; vaster, older, and more 
deeply seated forces were at work. In one 
sense the breach was simply the ecclesiastical 
consummation of the forces which had long 
been making for national independence, and 
the religious complement of the changes 
which had emancipated the English state, 
language, and literature from foreign control. 
The Catholic church naturally resisted its dis- 
integration, and the severance was effected 
by the secular arms of parliament and the 
crown. The nationalism of the English 
church was the result rather than the cause 
of the breach with Rome, and its national 
characteristics — supreme governance by the 
king, the disappearance of cosmopolitan reli- 
gious orders, the parliamentary authorization 
of services in the vernacular, of English books 
of Common Prayer, of English versions of the 
Bible, and of the Thirty-nine Articles — were 
all imposed by parliament after, and not 
adopted by the church before, the separation. 
There were, indeed, no legal means by which 


the church in England could have accom- 
plished these things for itself; there were the 
convocations of Canterbury and York, but 
these were two subordinate provinces of the 
Catholic church; and, whatever may be said 
for provincial autonomy in the medieval 
church, the only marks of national autonomy 
were stamped upon it by the state. York 
was more independent of Canterbury than 
Canterbury was of Rome; and the unity as 
well as the independence of the national 
church depends upon the common subjection 
of both its provinces to the crown. 

This predominance of state over church 
was a consequence of its nationalization; for 
where the boundaries of the two coincide, 
the state generally has the upper hand. The 
papacy was only made possible by the fall 
of the Western Empire; in the Eastern 
Empire the state, so long as it survived, con- 
trolled the church; and the independence 
of the medieval church was due to its catho- 
licity, while the state at best was only national. 
It was in defence of the catholicity, as opposed 
to the nationalism, of the church that More 


and Fisher went to the scaffold in 1535, and 
nearly the whole bench of bishops was de- 
prived in 1559. Henry VIII and Elizabeth 
were bent on destroying the medieval discord 
between the Catholic church and the national 
state. Catholicity had broken down in the 
state with the decline of the empire, and 
was fast breaking down in the church; 
nationalism had triumphed in the state, and 
was now to triumph in the church. 

In this respect the Reformation was the 
greatest achievement of the national state, 
which emerged from the struggle with no 
rival for its omnicompetent authority. Its 
despotism was the predominant characteristic 
of the century, for the national state success- 
fully rid itself of the checks imposed, on the 
one hand by the Catholic church, and on 
the other by the feudal franchises. But the 
supremacy was not exclusively royal; parlia- 
ment was the partner and accomplice of the 
crown. It was the weapon which the Tudors 
employed to pass Acts of Attainder against 
feudal magnates and Acts of Supremacy 
against the church; and men complained 


that despotic authority had merely been 
transferred from the pope to the king, and 
infaUibiHty from the church to parHament. 
"ParKament," wrote an EHzabethan states- 
man, "estabhsheth forms of rehgion. . . ." 

But while Englishmen on the whole were 
pretty well agreed that foreign jurisdiction 
was to be eliminated, and that Englishmen 
were to be organized in one body, secular and 
spiritual, which might be called indifferently 
a state-church or a church-state, there was 
much more difference of opinion with regard 
to its theological complexion. It might be 
Catholic or it might be Protestant in doctrine; 
and it was far more difficult to solve this 
religious problem than to effect the severance 
from Rome. There were, indeed, many cur- 
rents in the stream, some of them cross- 
currents, some political, some religious, but 
all mingling imperceptibly with one another. 
The revolt of the nation against a foreign 
authority is the most easily distinguished of 
these tendencies; another is the revolt of 
the laity against the clerical specialist. The 
church, it must be remembered, was often 


regarded as consisting not of the whole body 
of the faithful, but simply of the clergy, who 
continued to claim a monopoly of its privileges 
after they had ceased to enjoy a monopoly of 
its intelligence and virtue. The Renaissance 
had been a new birth of secular learning, not 
a revival of clerical learning. Others besides 
the clergy could now read and write and 
understand; town chronicles took the place of 
monastic chronicles, secular poets of divines; 
and a middle class that was growing in wealth 
and intelligence grew also as impatient of 
clerical as it had done of military specialists. 
The essential feature of the reformed services 
was that they were compiled in the common 
tongue and not in the Latin of ecclesiastical 
experts, that a Book of Common Prayer was 
used, that congregational psalm-singing re- 
placed the sacerdotal solo, and a communion 
was substituted for a priestly miracle. Reli- 
gious service was to be something rendered by 
the people themselves, and not performed for 
their benefit by the priest. 

Individual participation and private judg- 
ment in religion were indeed the essence of 


Protestantism, which was largely the religious 
aspect of the revolt of the individual against 
the collectivism of the Middle Ages. The 
control exercised by the church had, how- 
ever, been less the expression of the general 
will than the discipline by authority of 
masses too illiterate to think for them- 
selves. Attendance at public worship would 
necessarily be their only form of devotion. 
But the general emancipation of servile 
classes and spread of intelligence by the 
Renaissance had led to a demand for ver- 
nacular versions of the Scriptures and to a 
great deal of private and family religious 
exercise, without which there could have been 
no Protestant Reformation. Lollardy, which 
was a violent outburst of this domestic piety, 
was never completely suppressed; and it 
flamed out afresh when once political reasons, 
which had led the Lancastrians to support 
the church, induced the Tudors to attack it. 

Most spiritual of all the factors in the 
Reformation was the slow and partial emanci- 
pation of men's minds from the materialism 
of the Middle Ages. It may seem bold, in 


face of the vast secularization of church 
property and other things in the sixteenth 
century, to speak of emancipation from 
materialism. Nevertheless, there was a dis- 
tinct step in the progress of men's minds from 
that primitive condition of intelligence in 
which they can only grasp material symbols 
of the real conception. Rudimentary juris- 
prudence had confessed its inability to pene- 
trate men's thoughts and differentiate their 
actions according to their motives; there had 
been a time when possession had seemed more 
real than property, and when the transference 
of a right was incomprehensible without the 
transference of its concrete symbols. There 
could be no gift without its manual convey- 
ance, no marriage without a ring, no king 
without a coronation. Many of these mate- 
rial swaddling-clothes remain and have their 
value. A national flag stimulates loyalty, 
gold lace helps the cause of discipline. Bishop 
Gardiner, in the sixteenth century, defended 
images on the ground that they were docu- 
ments all could read, while few could read the 
Scriptures. To unimaginative men there 


could be no priest without vestments, no 
worship without ritual, no communion of the 
Spirit without the presence of the Body, 
no temple not made with hands, no God 
without an image. To break the image, to 
abolish the vestments and the ritual, to deny 
the transubstantiation, was to destroy the 
religion and reverence of the masses, who 
could only grasp matter and worship with 
their senses. 

Protestantism was, therefore, not a popular 
religion, and to thousands of educated men it 
did not appeal. Few people are so immaterial- 
istic that they can dispense with symbols; 
many can idealize symbols in which others 
see nothing but matter; and only those devoid 
of artistic perception deny the religious value 
of sculpture, painting, and music. Protes- 
tantism might be an ideal religion if men were 
compounded of pure reason; being what they 
were, many adopted it because they were 
impervious to artistic influence or impatient 
of spiritual discipline. It will hardly do to 
divide the nation into intelligent Protestants 
and illiterate Catholics: the point is that the 


somewhat crude symbolism which had satis- 
fied the cravings of the average man had 
ceased to be sufficient for his newer intelh- 
gent needs; he demanded either a higher 
symboHsm or else as little as possible. Some 
felt the symbol a help, others felt it a hin- 
drance to the realization of the ideal; so some 
men can see better with, others without, 
spectacles, but that fact would hardly justify 
their abolition. 

Henry VIII confined his sympathies to the 
revolt of the nation against Rome and the 
revolt of the laity against the priests. The 
former he used to make himself Supreme 
Head of the church, the latter to subdue con- 
vocation and despoil the monasteries. All 
civilized countries have found it expedient 
sooner or later to follow his example with re- 
gard to monastic wealth; and there can be 
little doubt that the withholding of so much 
land and so many men and women from pro- 
ductive purposes impeded the material pros- 
perity of the nation. But the devotion of the 
proceeds to the foundation of private families, 
instead of to educational endowment, can 


only be explained and not excused by the 
exigencies of political tactics. His real serv- 
ices were political, not religious. He taught 
England a good deal of her insular confidence; 
he proclaimed the indivisible and indisputable 
sovereignty of the crown in parliament; he 
not only incorporated Wales and the county 
palatine of Chester with England, and began 
the English re-organization of Ireland, but he 
united England north with England south of 
the Humber, and consolidated the Borders, 
those frayed edges of the national state. He 
carried on the work of Henry II and Edward I, 
and by subduing rival jurisdictions stamped 
a final unity on the framework of the govern- 

The advisers of Edward VI embarked on 
the more difficult task of making this organi- 
zation Protestant; and the haste with which 
they, and especially Northumberland, pressed 
on the change provoked first rebellion in 1549 
and then reaction under Mary. They were 
also confronted with social discontent aris- 
ing out of the general substitution of com- 
petition for custom as the ruling economic 


principle. Capital amassed in trade was 
applied to land, which began to be treated as 
a source of money, not a source of men. Land 
held in severalty was found more profitable 
than land held in common, large estates than 
small holdings, and wool-growing than corn- 
growing. Small tenants were evicted, small 
holdings consolidated, commons enclosed, and 
arable land converted to pasture. The mass 
of the agricultural population became mere 
labourers without rights of property on the 
soil they tilled; thousands lost employment 
and swelled the ranks of sturdy beggars; and 
sporadic disorder came to a head in Kett's 
rebellion in Norfolk in 1549, which was with 
difficulty suppressed. But even this high- 
handed expropriation of peasants by their 
landlords stimulated national development. 
It created a vagrant mobile mass of labour, 
which helped to meet the demands of new 
industrial markets and to feed English oversea 
enterprise. A race that sticks like a limpet 
to the soil may be happy but cannot be 
great; and the ejection of English peasants 
from their homesteads saved them from the 


reproach of home-keeping youths that they 
have ever homely wits. 

Mary's reign, however, checked the na- 
tional impulse towards expansion, and thrust 
England for the moment back into the Middle 
Ages. First she put herself and her kingdom 
under the aegis of Spain, to which in heart and 
mind she belonged, by marrying Philip II. 
Then with his assistance she restored the 
papal jurisdiction, and England surrendered 
its national independence. Those who repudi- 
ated their foreign jurisdiction were naturally 
treated as contumacious by the papal courts in 
England and sent to the stake; and Enghsh ad- 
venturers were prohibited, in the interests of 
Spain and Portugal, from trespassing in the 
New World . Finally England was plunged into 
war with France in order to help Philip, and 
lost Calais for its pains. Mary 's reign showed 
that in a sovereign good intentions and up- 
right conversation exaggerate rather than re- 
deem the evil effects of bigotry and blindness. 
She had, however, made it impossible for any 
successor to perpetuate in England the Roman 
jurisdiction and the patronage of Spain. 


Elizabeth was a sovereign more purely 
British in blood than any other since the Nor- 
man Conquest; and to her appropriately fell 
the task of completing her country's national 
independence. Henry VIII's Act of Supremacy 
and Edward VI's of Uniformity were restored 
with some modifications, in spite of the oppo- 
sition of the Catholic bishops, who contended 
that a nation had no right to deal independ- 
ently with ecclesiastical matters, and suffered 
deprivation and imprisonment rather than 
recognize a schismatic national church . Eliza- 
beth rejected Philip's offers of marriage and 
paid no heed to his counsels of state. She scan- 
dalized Catholic Europe by assisting the re- 
volted Scots to expel the French from North 
Britain; and revenged the contempt, in which 
England had been held in Mary's reign, by 
supporting with impunity the Dutch against 
Philip II and the Huguenots against the king 
of France. She concealed her aggressions with 
diplomatic artifice and caution; but at heart 
she was with her people, who lost no oppor- 
tunity, in their new-found confidence, of plun- 
dering and insulting the Catholic powers in 
their way. 


The astonishing success of England amid 
the novel conditions of national rivalry re- 
quires some attempt at explanation. It seems 
to have been due to the singular flexibility 
of the English character and national system, 
and to the consequent ease with which 
they adapted themselves to changing environ- 
ment. Indeed, whatever may be the case 
at present, a survey of English history sug- 
gests that the conventional stolidity ascribed 
to John Bull was the least obvious of his 
characteristics; and even to-day the only 
people who never change their mind at 
general elections are the mercurial Celts. 
Certainly England has never suffered from 
that rigidity of social system which has 
hampered in the past the adaptability of its 
rivals. Even in feudal times there was little 
law about status; and when the customary 
arrangement of society in two agricultural 
classes of landlord and tenant was modified 
by commerce, capitalism, and competition, 
nobles adapted themselves to the change with 
some facility. They took to sheep-farming 
and commercial speculations, just as later on 


they took to keeping dairy-shops. It is the 
smallness rather than the source of his 
profits that excites social prejudice against 
the shopkeeper in England. On the Con- 
tinent, however, class feeling prevented the 
governing classes from participating in the 
expansion of commerce. German barons, for 
instance, often with only a few florins a year 
income, could not supplement it by trade; 
all they could do was to rob the traders, rob- 
bery being a thoroughly genteel occupation. 
Hence foreign governments were, as a rule, 
less alive and less responsive to the com- 
mercial interests of their subjects. Philip II 
trampled on commercial opinion in a way 
no English sovereign could have done. 
Indeed, complaints were raised in England 
at the extent to which the commercial 
classes had the ear of parliament and the 
crown; since the accession of Henry VIII, it 
was said in 1559, they had succeeded by their 
secret influence in procuring the rejection 
of every bill they thought injurious to their 
There was no feeling of caste to obstruct 


the efficiency of English administration. The 
nobility were separated from the nation by no 
fixed line; there never was in England a 
nobility of blood, for all the sons of a noble 
except the eldest were commoners. And while 
they were constantly sinking into the mass 
of the nation, commoners frequently rose to 
the rank of nobility. Before the end of the 
fourteenth century wealth derived from trade 
had become an avenue to the House of Lords. 
The justices of the peace, on whom the Tudors 
relied for local administration, were largely 
descended from successful city men who had, 
like the Walsinghams, planted themselves 
out in the country; and Elizabeth herself 
was great-great-granddaughter of a London 
mayor. This social elasticity enabled the 
government to avail itself of able men of all 
classes, and the efficiency of Tudor adminis- 
tration was mainly due to these recruits, 
whose genius would have been elsewhere neg- 
lected. Further, it provided the government 
with agents peculiarly fitted by training and 
knowledge to deal with the commercial prob- 
lems which were beginning to fill so large a 


sphere in politics; and finally, it rendered the 
government singularly responsive to the pub- 
lic opinion of the classes upon whose welfare 
depended the expansion of England. 

Englishmen likewise took to the sea, when 
the sea became all-important, as readily as 
they took to trade. English command of 
the Narrow Seas had laid France open to the 
invasions of Edward III and Henry V, and 
had checked the tide of French reconquest 
before the walls of Calais. English piracy in 
the Channel was notorious in the fifteenth 
century, and in the sixteenth it attained 
patriotic proportions. Henry VII had en- 
couraged Cabot's voyage to Newfoundland, 
but the papal partition of new-found lands 
between Spain and Portugal barred to Eng- 
land the door of legitimate, peaceful expan- 
sion; and there can be little doubt that this 
prohibition made many converts to Protes- 
tantism among English seafaring folk. Even 
Mary could not prevent her subjects from 
preying on Spanish and Portuguese commerce 
and colonies; and with Elizabeth's accession 
preying grew into a national pastime. Haw- 


kins broke into Spanish monopoly in the West 
Indies, Drake burst into their Pacific pre- 
serves, and circumvented their defences; and 
a host of followers plundered nearly every 
Spanish and Portuguese colony. 

At last Philip was provoked into a naval 
war for which the English were and he v»^as 
not prepared. Spanish rigidity embraced the 
Spanish marine as well as Spanish theology. 
Clinging to Mediterranean and medieval tra- 
ditions, Spain had failed to realize the condi- 
tions of sea-power or naval tactics. England, 
on the other hand, had, largely under the 
inspiration of Henry VIII, adapted its navy 
to oceanic purposes. A type of vessel had 
been evolved capable of crossing the ocean, 
of manoeuvring and of fighting under sail; 
to Drake the ship had become the fighting 
unit, to the Duke of Medina Sidonia a ship 
was simply a vehicle for soldiers, and a sea- 
fight was simply a land-fight on sea. The 
crowning illustration of Spain's incapacity to 
adapt itself to new conditions is perhaps the 
fact that only a marquis or duke could be 
made a Spanish admiral. 


England had disposed of similar claims to 
political and military authority in 1569, when 
medieval feudalism made its last bid for the 
control of English policy. For ten years 
Elizabeth had been guided by Sir William 
Cecil, a typical "new man" of Tudor making, 
who hoped to wean the common people from 
dependence upon their lords, and to complete 
the destruction of feudal privileges which still 
impeded the action of national sovereignty. 
The flight of Mary Queen of Scots into Eng- 
land in 1568 provided a focus for noble dis- 
content with Cecil's rule, and the northern 
earls rebelled in 1569. The rebellion was 
easily suppressed, but its failure did not deter 
the Duke of Norfolk, the earls' accomplice, 
from joining Ridolfi's plot with similar ends. 
He was brought to the block in 1572, and in 
him perished the last surviving English duke. 
For more than half a century England had 
to do its best — defeat the Spanish Armada, 
conquer Ireland, circumnavigate the globe, 
lay the foundations of empire, produce the 
literature of the Elizabethan age — without 
any ducal assistance. It was left for James I, 


who also created the rank of baronet in order 
to sell the title (1611), to revive the glories 
of ducal dignity in the persons of Ludovic 
Stuart, Duke of Richmond, and George Vil- 
liers, Duke of Buckingham (1623). 

Cecil's drastic methods of dealing with the 
opposition lords left the door of government 
open to men like Walsingham, who were 
determined to give full play to the new forces 
in English politics. Discontented reaction- 
aries were reduced to impotent silence, or 
driven abroad to side openly with the enemy. 
Pius V's bull excommunicating and deposing 
Elizabeth (1570) shattered in a similar way 
the old Catholic party. The majority acqui- 
esced in the national religion; the extremists 
fled to become conspirators at foreign courts 
or Jesuit and missionary priests. The an- 
tagonism between England and Spain in the 
New World did more, perhaps, than Spanish 
Catholicism to make Philip the natural pa- 
tron of these exiles and of their plots against 
the English government; and as Spain and 
England drew apart, England and France drew 
together. In 1572 a defensive alliance was 


formed between them, and there seemed a 
prospect of their co-operation to drive the 
Spaniards out of the Netherlands. But 
Catholic France resented this Huguenot 
policy, and the massacre of St. Bartholo- 
mew put a violent end to the scheme, while 
Elizabeth and Philip patched up a truce for 
some years. There could, however, be no 
permanent compromise, on the one hand, 
between Spanish exclusiveness and the deter- 
mination of Englishmen to force open the 
door of the New World and, on the other, 
between English nationalism and the papal 
resolve to reconquer England for the Catholic 
church. Philip made common cause with the 
papacy and with its British champion, Mary 
Queen of Scots, while Englishmen made com- 
mon cause with Philip's revolted subjects in 
the Netherlands. The acquisition of Portugal, 
its fleet, and its colonial empire by Philip in 
1580, the assassination of William of Orange 
in 1584, and the victories of Alexander of 
Parma in the Netherlands forced Elizabeth 
into decisive action. The Dutch were taken 
under her wing, a national expedition led by 


Drake paralyzed Spanish dominion in the 
West Indies in 1585 and then destroyed 
Phihp's fleet at Cadiz in 1587, and the Queen 
of Scots was executed. 

At last Philip attempted a tardy retaliation 
with the Spanish Armada. Its naval ineffi- 
ciency was matched by political miscalcula- 
tions. Philip never imagined that a united 
England could be conquered; but he laboured 
under the delusion, spread by English Catholic 
exiles, that the majority of the English people 
only awaited a signal to rise against their 
queen. When this delusion was exploded and 
the naval incompetence of Spain exposed, his 
dreams of conquest vanished, and he con- 
tinued the war merely in the hope of securing 
guarantees against English interference in 
the New World, in the Netherlands, and in 
France, where he was helping the Catholic 
League to keep Henry of Navarre off the 
French throne. Ireland, however, was his 
most promising sphere of operations. There 
religious and racial hostility to the English 
was fusing discordant Irish septs into an Irish 
nation, and the appearance of a Spanish 


expedition was the signal for something like a 
national revolt. England had not been rich 
enough in men or money to give Ireland a 
really efficient government, but the extent of 
the danger in 1598-1602 stimulated an effort 
which resulted in the first real conquest of 
Ireland; and Englishmen set themselves to do 
the same work, with about the same amount 
of benevolence, for the Irish that the Normans 
had done for the Anglo-Saxons. 

So far Tudor monarchy had proved an 
adequate exponent of English nationalism, 
because nationalism had been concerned 
mainly with the external problems of defence 
against foreign powers and jurisdictions. But 
with the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the 
urgency of those problems passed away; and 
during the last fifteen years of Elizabeth's 
reign national feelings found increasing ex- 
pression in parliament and in popular litera- 
ture. In all forms of literature, but especially 
in the Shakespearean drama, the keynote of 
the age was the evolution of a national spirit 
and technique, and their emancipation from 
the influence of classical and foreign models. 


In domestic politics a rift appeared between 
the monarchy and the nation. For one thing 
the alHance, forged by Henry VIII between 
the crown and parHament, against the church, 
was being changed into an alliance between 
the crown and church against the parliament, 
because parliament was beginning to give 
expression to democratic ideas of government 
in state and church which threatened the 
principle of personal rule common to mon- 
archy and to episcopacy. *'No Bishop, no 
King," was a shrewd aphorism of James I, 
which was in the making before he reached the 
throne. In other respects — such as monop- 
olies, the power of the crown to levy indirect 
taxation without consent of parliament, to 
imprison subjects without cause shown, and 
to tamper with the privileges of the House of 
Commons — the royal prerogative was called 
in question. Popular acquiescence in strong 
personal monarchy was beginning to waver 
now that the need for it was disappearing 
with the growing security of national inde- 
pendence. People could afford the luxuries 
of liberty and party strife when their national 


existence was placed beyond the reach of 
danger; and a national demand for a greater 
share of self-government, which was to wreck 
the House of Stuart, was making itself heard 
before, on March 24, 1603, the last sovereign 
of the line which had made England a really 
national state passed away. 




National independence and popular self- 
government, although they were intimately 
associated as the two cardinal dogmas of 
nineteenth-century liberalism, are very differ- 
ent things; and the achievement of complete 
national independence under the Tudors did 
not in the least involve any solution of the 
question of popular self-government. Still, 
that achievement had been largely the work of 
the nation itself, and a nation which had 
braved the spiritual thunders of the papacy 
and the temporal arms of Philip II would 


not be naturally submissive under domestic 
tyranny. Perhaps the fact that James I 
was an alien hastened the admonition, which 
parliament addressed to him in the first ses- 
sion of the reign, to the effect that it was not 
prepared to tolerate in him many things which, 
on account of her age and sex, it had over- 
looked in Elizabeth. 

Parliament began the constitutional conflict 
thus foreshadowed with no clear constitu- 
tional theory; and its views only crystallized 
under pressure of James I's pretensions. 
James possessed an aptitude for political 
speculation, which was rendered all the more 
dangerous by the facilities he enjoyed for 
putting his theories into practice. He tried 
to reduce monarchy to a logical system, and 
to enforce that system as practical politics. 
He had succeeded to the English throne in 
spite of Henry VIII 's will, which had been 
given the force of a parliamentary statute, 
and in spite of the common law which disabled 
an alien from inheriting English land. His 
only claim was by heredity, which had never 
been legally recognized to the exclusion of 


other principles of succession. James was 
not content to ascribe his accession to such 
mundane circumstances as the personal un- 
fitness of his rivals and the obvious advan- 
tages of a union of the English and Scottish 
crowns; and he was led to attribute a super- 
natural virtue to the hereditary principle 
which had overcome obstacles so tremendous. 
Hence his theory of divine hereditary right. 
It must be distinguished from the divine right 
which the Tudors claimed; that was a right 
which was not necessarily hereditary, but 
might be varied by the God of battles, as at 
Bosworth. It must also be distinguished 
from the Catholic theory, which gave the 
church a voice in the election and deposition 
of kings. According to James's view, Provi- 
dence had not merely ordained the king de 
factOy but had pre-ordained the kings that were 
to be, by selecting heredity as the principle 
by which the succession was to be determined 
for ever and ever. This ordinance, being 
divine, was beyond the power of man to alter. 
The fitness of the king to rule, the justice or 
efficiency of his government, were irrelevant 


details. Parliament could no more alter the 
succession, depose a sovereign, or limit his 
authority than it could amend the constitu- 
tion of the universe. From this premiss James 
deduced a number of conclusions. Royal 
power was absolute; the king could do no 
wrong for which his subjects could call him 
to account; he was responsible to God but 
not to man — a doctrine which the Reforma- 
tion had encouraged by proclaiming the 
Royal Supremacy over the church. He might, 
if he chose, make concessions to his people, 
and a wise sovereign like himself would respect 
the concessions of his predecessors. But 
parliamentary and popular privileges existed 
by royal grace; they could not be claimed as 

This dogmatic assurance, to which the 
Tudors had never resorted, embittered parlia- 
mentary opposition and obscured the histori- 
cal justification for many of James's claims. 
Historically, there was much more to be said 
for the contention that parliament existed by 
grace of the monarchy than for the counter- 
claim that the monarchy existed by grace of 


parliament; and for the plea that parlia- 
ment only possessed such powers as the crown 
had granted, than for the counter-assertion 
that the crown only enjoyed such rights as 
parliament had conceded. Few of James's 
arbitrary acts could not be justified by prec- 
edent, and not a little of his unpopularity 
was due to his efforts to exact from local 
gentry the performance of duties which had 
been imposed upon them by earlier parlia- 
ments. The main cause of dissatisfaction 
was the growing popular conviction that con- 
stitutional weapons, used by the Tudors for 
national purposes, were now being used by 
the Stuarts in the interests of the monarchy 
against those of the nation; and as the breach 
widened, the more the Stuarts were led to 
rely on these weapons and on their theory of 
the divine right of kings, and the more parlia- 
ment was driven to insist upon its privileges 
and upon an alternative theory to that of 
James I. 

This alternative theory was difficult to 
elaborate. There was no idea of democracy. 
Complete popular self-government is, indeed. 


impossible; for the mass of men cannot rule, 
and the actual administration must always be 
in the hands of a comparatively few experts. 
The problem was and is how to control them 
and where to limit their authority; and this 
is a question of degree. In 1603 no one 
claimed that ministers were responsible to 
any one but the king; administration was 
his exclusive function. It was, however, 
claimed that parliamentary sanction must be 
obtained for the general principles upon which 
the people were to be governed — that is to 
say, for legislation. The crown might appoint 
what bishops it pleased, but it could not repeal 
the Act of Uniformity; it might make war or 
peace, but could not impose direct and general 
taxation; it selected judges, but they could 
only condemn men to death or imprisonment 
for offences recognized by the law. The 
subject was not at the mercy of the king 
except when he placed himself outside the 

The disadvantage, however, of an unwrit- 
ten constitution is that there are always a 
number of cases for which the law does not 


provide; and there were many more in the 
seventeenth century than there are to-day. 
These cases constituted the debatable land 
between the crown and parliament. Parlia- 
ment assumed that the crown could neither 
diminish parliamentary privilege nor develop 
its own prerogative without parliamentary 
sanction; and it read this assumption back 
into history. Nothing was legal unless it had 
been sanctioned by parliament; unless the 
crown could vouch a parliamentary statute 
for its claims they were denounced as void. 
This theory would have disposed of much of 
the constitution, including the crown itself; 
even parliament had grown by precedent 
rather than by statute. There were, as always, 
precedents on both sides. The question was, 
which were the precedents of growth and 
which were those of decay? That could only 
be decided by the force of circumstances, and 
the control of parliament over the national 
purse was the decisive factor in the situation. 
The Stuarts, indeed, were held in a cleft 
stick. Their revenue was steadily decreasing 
because the direct taxes, instead of growing 


with the nation's income, had remained fixed 
amounts since the fourteenth century, and 
the real value of those amounts declined 
rapidly with the influx of precious metals 
from the New World. Yet the expense of 
government automatically and inevitably 
increased, and disputes over foreign policy, 
over the treatment of Roman Catholics, over 
episcopal jurisdiction, over parliamentary 
privileges, and a host of minor matters made 
the Commons more and more reluctant to fill 
the empty Treasury. The blunt truth is that 
people will not pay for what they do not con- 
sider their concern; and Stuart government 
grew less and less a popular affair. The more 
the Stuarts demanded, the greater the ob- 
stacles they encountered in securing compli- 

James I levied additional customs which 
were called impositions, and the judges in 
1606 properly decided that these were legal. 
But they increased James's unpopularity; 
and, as a precaution, parliament would only 
grant Charles I tonnage and poundage (the 
normal customs duties) for one year after his 


accession instead of for life. Charles con- 
tended that parliament had, owing to non- 
user, lost the right of refusing these supplies 
to the crown; he proceeded to levy them 
by his own authority, and further demanded 
a general forced loan and benevolence. For 
refusing to pay, ^ve knights were sent to 
prison by order of the privy council "with- 
out cause shewn," whereby the crown avoided 
a judicial decision on the legality of the loan. 
This provoked the Petition of Right in 1628; 
but in 1629 Charles finally quarrelled with 
parliament over the question whether in 
assenting to the petition he had abandoned 
liiS right to levy tonnage and poundage. 
For eleven years he ruled without parliament, 
raising supplies by various obsolete expedients 
culminating in ship money, on behalf of which 
many patriotic arguments about the neces- 
sities of naval defence were used. 

He was brought up sharply when he began 
to kick against the Presbyterian pricks of 
Scotland; and the expenses of the Bishops' 
War put an end to the hand-to-mouth exist- 
ence of his unparliamentary government in 


England. The Long parliament went to the 
root of the matter by demanding triennial 
sessions and the choice of ministers who had 
the confidence of parliament. It emphasized 
its insistence upon ministerial responsibility 
to parliament by executing Strafford and 
afterwards Laud. Charles, who laboured 
under the impression common to reaction- 
aries that they are defending the rights of the 
people, contended that, in claiming an un- 
fettered right to choose his own advisers, he 
was championing one of the most obvious 
liberties of the subject. Parliament, however, 
had realized that in politics principles consist 
of details as a pound consists of pence; a^. ^ 
that if it wanted sound legislative principles, 
it must take care of the details of adminis- 
tration. Charles had ruled eleven years with- 
out parliament; but so had Wolsey, and 
Elizabeth had apologized when she called 
it together oftener than about once in five 
years. If the state had had more financial 
ballast, and the church had been less high and 
top-heavy, Charles might seemingly have 
weathered the storm and let parliament sub- 


side into impotence, as the Bourbons let the 
States-General of France, without any overt 
breach of the constitution. After all, the 
original design of the crown had been to get 
money out of parliament, and the main object 
of parliament had once been to make the king 
live of his own. A king content with parsi- 
mony might lawfully dispense with parlia- 
ment; and the eleven years had shown the 
precarious basis of parliamentary institutions, 
given a thrifty king and an unambitious coun- 
try. Events were demonstrating the truth of 
Hobbes's maxim that sovereignty is in- 
divisible; peace could not be kept between a 
sovereign legislature and a sovereign execu- 
tive; parliament must control the crown, or 
some day the eleven years would recur and 
become perpetual. In France, unparlia- 
mentary government was prolonged by the 
victory of the crown for a century and three- 
quarters. In England, Charles's was the last 
experiment, because parliament defeated the 
claim of the crown to rule by means of irre- 
sponsible ministers. 

In such a contest for the control of the exec- 


utive there could be no final arbitrament save 
that of force; but Charles was only able to 
fight at all because parliament destroyed its 
own unanimity by attacking the church, and 
thus provided him with a party and an army. 
More than a temporary importance, however, 
attaches to the fact that the abeyance of mon- 
archical power at once gave rise to permanent 
English parties; and it was natural that those 
parties should begin by fighting a civil war, 
for party is in the main an organ for the 
expression of combative instincts, and the 
metaphors of party warfare are still of a 
military character. Englishmen's combative 
instincts were formerly curbed by the crown; 
but since the decline of monarchy they have 
either been vented against other nations, or 
expressed in party conflicts. The instinct does 
not commonly require two forms of expres- 
sion at once, and party strife subsides during 
a national war. Its methods of expression, 
too, have been slowly and partially civilized; 
and even a general election is more humane 
than a civil war. But the first attack of an 
epidemic is usually the most virulent, and 


party strife has not a second time attained the 
dimensions of civil war. 

One reason for this mitigation is that the 
questions at issue have been gradually nar- 
rowed down until, although they bulk large 
to heated imaginations, they really cover a 
very small area of political life, and the 
main lines continue the same whichever 
party triumphs. Another reason is that 
experience has proved the necessity of the 
submission of the minority to the majority. 
This is one of the greatest achievements of 
politics. In the thirteenth century Peter 
des Roches claimed exemption from the pay- 
ment of a scutage on the ground that he had 
voted against it, and his claim was held to be 
valid. Such a contention means anarchy, 
and considerable progress had been made 
before the seventeenth century towards the 
constitutional doctrine that the vote of the 
majority binds the whole community. But 
the process was incomplete, and the causes 
of strife between Roundhead and Royalist 
were fundamental. A victory of the Royalists 
would have been carried to extremes, as the 


victory of the Roundheads was; and the 
result would almost certainly have been 
despotic government until a still more violent 
outbreak precipitated the country into a 
series of revolutions. 

Liberty, like religious toleration, has been 
won through the internecine warfare between 
various forms of despotism; and the strength 
of the Royalists lay in the fact that parlia- 
ment, in espousing Presbyterianism, weighted 
its cause with an ecclesiastical sj^stem as 
narrow and tyrannical as Laud's. New pres- 
byter was but old priest writ large, and the 
balance between the two gave the decision 
into the hands of the Independents, whose 
numerical inferiority was redeemed by Crom- 
well's military genius. When Presbyterians 
and Independents had ground the Royalists 
to powder at Marston Moor and Naseby, 
Charles sought to recover his authority 
through their quarrels. He fell between two 
stools. His double dealings with both parties 
led to the second civil war, to his own 
execution, and to the abolition of monarchy 
and of the House of Lords in 1G49. Having 


cruslied Catholic Ireland and Presbyterian 
Scotland, to which Charles and his son had in 
turn appealed, Cromwell was faced with the 
problem of governing England. 

The victorious party was in a hopeless 
minority, and some of the fervour with which 
the Independents appealed to divine election 
may have been due to a consciousness that 
they would not have passed the test of a 
popular vote. In their view, God had deter- 
mined the fundamentals of the constitution 
by giving the victory to His elect; these 
fundamentals were to be enshrined in a writ- 
ten rigid constitution, and placed beyond the 
reach of parliament or the people. Under 
the sovereignty of this inspired constitution 
(1653), which provided, among other things, 
for the union of England, Ireland, and Scot- 
land, a drastic reform of the franchise and 
redistribution of seats, the government was 
to be in the hands of a "single person," the 
Protector, and a single chamber, the House of 
Commons. The single person soon found the 
single chamber "horridly arbitrary," and 
preferred the freedom of military despotism. 


But his major-generals were even more arbi- 
trary than the single chamber, and in 1657 
a fresh constitution was elaborated with a 
Second Chamber to make it popular. The 
Restoration had, in fact, begun almost as 
soon as the war was over; the single cham- 
ber republic of 1649-1653 had given place 
to a single-chamber monarchy, called the 
Protectorate, and a further step was taken 
when in 1657 the "other" House was added; 
Cromwell was within an ace of making himself 
a king and his dynasty hereditary. Only his 
personal genius, the strength of his army, 
and the success of his foreign policy enabled 
him thus to restore the forms of the old 
constitution without the support of the 
social forces on which it had been based. 
His death in 1658 was necessarily followed 
by anarchy, and anarchy by the recall of 
Charles H. 

The Restoration was not so much a restora- 
tion of monarchy, which had really been 
achieved in 1653, as a restoration of the 
church, of parliament, and of the landed 
gentry; and each took its toll of profit from 


the situation. The church secured the most 
sectarian of its various settlements, and the 
narrowness of its re-estabhshment kept nearly 
half the nation outside its pale. The landed 
gentry obtained the predominant voice in 
parliament for a century and three-quarters, 
and, as a consequence, the abolition of its 
feudal services to the crown, the financial 
deficit being made up by an excise on beer 
instead of by a land-tax. Parliament eman- 
cipated itself from the dictation of the army, 
taking care never to run that risk again, and 
from the restrictions of a written, rigid consti- 
tution. It also recovered its rotten boroughs 
and antiquated franchise, but lost its union 
with the parliaments of Ireland and Scotland. 
At first it seemed more royalist than the king; 
but it soon appeared that its enthusiasm for 
the monarchy was more evanescent than its 
attachment to the church and landed inter- 
est. Even in the first flush it refrained from 
restoring the Star Chamber and the other 
prerogative courts and councils which had 
enabled the crown to dispense with parlia- 
mentary and common law control; and 


Charles II was never able to repeat his father's 
experiment of ruling for eleven years without 
a parliament. 

The ablest, least scrupulous, and most 
popular of the Stuarts, he began his reign with 
two objects: the emancipation of the crown 
from control as far as possible, and the eman- 
cipation of the Roman Catholics from their 
position of political inferiority; but the pur- 
suit of both objects was strictly conditioned 
by a determination not to embark on his 
travels again. The two objects were really 
incompatible. Charles could only make him- 
self autocratic with the support of the Angli- 
can church, and the church was determined 
to tolerate no relaxation of the penal code 
against other Catholics. At first Charles had 
to submit to Clarendon and the church; but 
in 1667 he gladly replaced Clarendon by the 
Cabal administration, among the members of 
which the only bond of unity was that it did 
not contain a sound Anglican churchman. 
With its assistance he published his Declara- 
tions of Indulgence for Roman Catholics and 
Dissenters (1672), and sought to secure him- 


self against parliamentary recalcitrance by a 
secret treaty with Louis XIV (1670). This 
policy failed against the stubborn opposition 
of the church. The Cabal fell; Danby, a 
replica of Clarendon, came into office; and 
the Test Act of 1673 made the position of the 
Roman Catholics worse than it was before 
the Declaration. 

This failure convinced Charles that one of 
his two designs must go by the board. He 
threw over the less popular cause of his co- 
religionists; and henceforth devoted himself 
to the task of emancipating the crown from 
parliamentary interference. But popular 
suspicion had been aroused by Charles's 
secret dealings and James's open professions; 
and Titus Gates, who knew something 
about real plans for the reconversion of 
England, inflated his knowledge into a mon- 
strous tale of a popish plot. The Whigs, 
as the opposition party came to be called, 
used it for more than it was worth to damage 
the Tories under Danby. The panic produced 
one useful measure, the Habeas Corpus Act 
of 1679, many judicial murders, and a 


foolish attempt to exclude James from the 
succession. As it subsided, Charles deftly 
turned the reaction to the ruin of the Whigs 
(1681). Of their leaders, Shaftesbury fled 
to Holland, and Sidney and Russell were 
brought to the block; their parliamentary 
strongholds in the cities and towns were 
packed with Tories; and for the last four 
years of his reign Charles ruled without a 
parliament, but with the goodwill of the 
Tories and the church. 

This half of the nation would probably 
have acquiesced in the growth of despotism 
under James II, had not the new king 
ostentatiously ignored the wisdom of Charles 
II. He began (1685) with everything in his 
favour: a Tory parliament, a discredited op- 
position, which further weakened its case by 
Argyll's and Monmouth's rebellions, and a 
great reputation for honesty. Within a couple 
of years he had thrown away all these advan- 
tages by his revival of Charles II's abandoned 
Roman Catholic policy, and had alienated 
the Anglican church, by whose support alone 
he could hope to rule as an English despot. 


He suspended and dispensed with laws, intro- 
duced Roman Catholics into the army, the 
universities, the privy council, raised a stand- 
ing force of thirty thousand men, and finally 
prosecuted seven bishops for seditious libel. 
William III, the husband of James's daughter 
Mary, was invited by representatives of all 
parties to come over as England's deliverer, 
and James fled on his approach. He could 
not fight, like his father, because no English 
party supported his cause. 

The Revolution of 1688 was singularly neg- 
ative so far as its results were expressed in 
the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement. 
These celebrated constitutional documents 
made little provision for national self-gov- 
ernment. One king, it is true, had been 
evicted from the throne, and Roman Catholics 
were to be always excluded; and these meas- 
ures disposed of divine hereditary right. 
But that had been a Stuart invention, and 
kings had been deposed before James II. 
Why should self-government follow on the 
events of 1688 any more than on those of 
1399, 1461, or 1485? Future sovereigns were. 


indeed, to refrain from doing much that James 
had done. They were not to keep a standing 
army in time of peace, not to pardon ministers 
impeached by the House of Commons, not 
to dismiss judges except on an address from 
both Houses of ParHament, not to suspend 
laws at all nor to dispense with them in the 
way James had done, not to keep a parliament 
nor do without one longer than three years, 
and not to require excessive bail. Religious 
toleration, too, was secured in some measure, 
and freedom of the press to a limited extent. 
But all these enactments were safeguards 
against the abuse of royal power and infringe- 
ment of civil liberty rather than provisions 
for self-government. No law was passed 
requiring the king to be guided by ministers 
enjoying the confidence of parliament; he 
was still the real and irresponsible executive, 
and parliament was limited to legislation. 
The favourite Whig toast of "civil and reli- 
gious liberty" implied an Englishman's right 
to freedom from molestation, but not a right 
to a voice in the government of the country. 
Responsible self-government was not guaran- 


teed by the laws, but it was ensured by the 
facts, of the Revolution. 

The truth is, that the methods of English 
constitutional progress have been, down to 
this day, offensive strategy and defensive 
tactics. Positions have been taken up which 
necessitate the retirement of the forces of 
reaction, unless they are prepared to make 
attacks predestined to defeat; and so, nearly 
every Liberal advance has been made to 
appear the result of Tory aggression. The 
central position has always been control of 
the purse by parliament. At first it only 
embraced certain forms of direct taxation; 
gradually it was extended and developed by 
careful spade-work until it covered every 
source of revenue. Entrenched behind these 
formidable earthworks, parliament proceeded 
to dictate to the early Stuarts the terms of 
national policy. Charles I, provoked by its 
assumptions, made his attack on the central 
position, was foiled, and in his retreat left 
large portions of the crown's equipment in 
the hands of parliament. Rasher attacks 
by James II resulted in a still more precipi- 


tate retreat and in the abandonment of more 
of the royal prerogatives. The growth of the 
empire and of the expenses of government 
riveted more firmly than ever the hold of 
parliament over the crown; the greater the 
demands which it alone could meet, the higher 
the conditions it could impose upon their 
grant, until parliament determined absolutely 
the terms upon which the office of monarchy 
should be held. In a similar way the Com- 
mons used their control of the national purse 
to restrict the powers of the House of Lords; 
provocation has led to attacks on the central 
position, and the failure of these attacks has 
been followed by surrender. Prudent leaders 
have preferred to retire without courting the 
preliminary of defeat. 

William III and his successors adopted this 
course when confronted with the impregnable 
position of parliament after the Revolution; 
and hence later constitutional gains, while no 
apparent part of the parliamentary position, 
were its inevitable consequences. William, 
absorbed in a life-and-death struggle with 
Louis XIV, required a constant stream of 


supplies from parliament; and to secure its 
regularity lie had to rely on the good offices 
and advice of those who commanded most 
votes in the House of Commons. In the 
Lords, who then numbered less than two 
hundred, he could secure the balance of power 
through the appointment of bishops. In the 
Commons his situation was more difficult. 
The partial demise of personal monarchy in 
1688 led to a scramble for its effects, and the 
scramble to the organization of the two prin- 
cipal competitors, the Whig and Tory parties. 
The Whigs formed a "junto," or caucus, and 
the Tories followed their example. William 
preferred the Whigs, because they sympa- 
thized with his wars; but the country some- 
times preferred the Tories, because it hated 
William's Dutchmen and taxation. On Wil- 
liam's death in 1702 the danger from Louis 
XIV was considered so acute that a ministry 
was formed from all parties in order to secure 
the united support of parliament; but gradu- 
ally, in Anne's reign, the Tories who wanted to 
make peace left the ministry, until in 1708 it 
became purely Wliig. In 1710 it fell, and the 


Tories took its place. They wanted a Stuart 
restoration, even at the price of undoing the 
Revolution, if only the Pretender would aban- 
don his popery; while the Whigs were deter- 
mined to maintain the Revolution even at the 
price of a Hanoverian dynasty. They re- 
turned to power in 1714 with the accession of 
George I, and monopolized office for more 
than half a century. As time went on, many 
Whigs became hardly distinguishable from 
Tories who had relinquished Jacobitism; and 
from Lord North's accession to office in 1770 
down to 1830 the Tories enjoyed in their turn 
a half-century of nearly unbroken power. 

During this period the party system and 
cabinet government were elaborated. Party 
supplanted the crown as the determining 
factor in British government, and the cabinet 
became the executive committee of the 
party possessing a majority in the House of 
Commons. Queen Anne had not the intellect 
nor vigour to assert her independence of 
ministers, and George I, who understood no 
English, ceased to attend cabinet meetings. 
The royal veto disappeared, and even the 


king's choice of ministers was severely limited, 
not by law but by practical necessities. 
Ministers, instead of giving individual advice 
which the sovereign might reject, met to- 
gether without the king and tendered collec- 
tive advice, the rejection of which by the 
sovereign meant their resignation, and if 
parliament agreed with them, its dissolution 
or surrender on the part of the crown. For 
the purpose of tendering this advice and 
maintaining order in the cabinet, a chief was 
needed; Walpole, by eliminating all competi- 
tors during his long administration (1721- 
1742), developed the office of prime minister, 
which, without any law to establish it, became 
one of the most important of British insti- 
tutions. Similarly the cabinet itself grew and 
was not created by any Act; indeed, while 
the cabinet and the prime minister were grow- 
ing, it would have been impossible to induce 
any parliament to create them, for parliament 
was still jealous of royal influence, and even 
wanted to exclude from its ranks all servants 
of the crown. But, fortunately, the absence of 
a written constitution enabled the British 


constitution to grow and adapt itself to cir- 
cumstances without legal enactment. 

The circumstance that the cabinet was the 
executive committee of the majority in the 
House of Commons gave it the command of 
the Lower House, and by means of the 
Commons' financial powers, of the crown. 
This party system was deplored by many; 
Bolingbroke, a Tory leader out of office, called 
for a national party, and urged the crown to 
emancipate itself from Whig domination by 
choosing ministers from all sections. Chatham 
thought that in the interests of national effi- 
ciency, the ablest ministers should be selected, 
whatever their political predilections. George 
ni adapted these ideas to the purpose of 
making himself a king in deed. But his suc- 
cess in breaking down the party and cabinet 
system was partial and temporary; he only 
succeeded in humbling the Whig houses by 
giving himself a master in the person of the 
younger Pitt (1784), who was supported by 
the majority of the nation. 

With the House of Lords the cabinet has 
had more prolonged and complicated troubles. 


Ostensibly and constitutionally the disputes 
have been between the two Houses of Parlia- 
ment; and this was really the case before 
the development of the close connexion 
between the cabinet and the Commons. 
Both Houses had profited by the overthrow 
of the crown in the seventeenth century, 
and the extremes to which they sometimes 
pushed their claims suggest that they were as 
anxious as the crown had been to place them- 
selves above the law. The House of Lords 
did succeed in making its judicial decisions 
law in spite of the crown and Commons, al- 
though the Commons were part of the "High 
Court of Parliament," and no law had granted 
the Lords supreme appellate jurisdiction; 
hence the constitutional position of the House 
of Lords was made by its own decisions and 
not by Act of Parliament or of the crown. 
This claim to appellate jurisdiction, which was 
much disputed by the Commons during the 
reign of Charles II, was only conceded in re- 
turn for a similar concession to the Commons 
in financial matters. Here the Commons 
practically made their resolutions law, though 


the Lords insisted that the privilege should 
not be abused by "tacking" extraneous 
provisions on to financial measures. 

There were some further disputes in the 
reigns of William III and Anne, but the only 
occasion upon which peers were actually 
made in order to carry a measure, was when 
the Tories created a dozen to pass the Peace 
of Utrecht in 1712. It is, indeed, a singular 
fact that no serious conflict between the two 
Houses occurred during the whole of the 
Georgian period from 1714 to 1830. The 
explanation seems to be that both Houses 
were simply the political agents of the same 
organized aristocracy. The humble towns- 
folk who figured in the parliaments of Edward 
I (see p. 65) disappeared when a seat in the 
House of Commons becatae a position of 
power and privilege; and to the first parlia- 
ment (1547) for which journals of the Com- 
mons proved worth preserving, the eldest 
son of a peer thought it worth while seeking 
election. Many successors followed; towns 
were bribed or constrained to choose the 
nominees of peers and country magnates; 


burgage tenements were bought up by noble 
families to secure votes; and the Restoration 
parliament had material reasons for treating 
Cromwell's reforms as void, and restoring 
rotten boroughs and fancy franchises. By 
the time that parliament had emancipated 
itself from the control of the crown, it had 
also emancipated itself to a considerable ex- 
tent from the control of the constituencies. 
This political system would not have 
developed nor lasted so long as it did, had 
it not had some virtue and some relevance to 
its environment. In every country's develop- 
ment there is a stage in which aristocracy is 
the best form of government. England had 
outgrown monarchical despotism, but it was 
not yet fit for democracy. Political power 
depends upon education, and it would have 
been unreasonable to expect intelligent votes 
from men who could not read or write, had 
small knowledge of politics, little practical 
training in local administration, and none of 
the will to exercise control. Politics were still 
the affair of the few, because only the few 
could comprehend them, or were conscious of 


the uses and limitations of political power. 
The corrupt and misguided use of their votes 
by those who possessed them was some reason 
for not extending the franchise to still more 
ignorant masses; and it was not entirely irra- 
tional to leave the control of national affairs 
in the hands of that section of the nation which 
had received some sort of political education. 
The defects, however, of a political system, 
which restricts power to a limited class or 
classes, are that each class tends to exercise it 
in its own interests and resents its extension 
to others, even when they are qualified for its 
use. If all other historical records had dis- 
appeared, land laws, game laws, inclosure acts, 
and corn laws — after the Revolution a bounty 
was actually placed on the export of corn, 
whereby the community was taxed in order 
to deprive itself of food or make it dearer — 
alone would prove that political power in the 
Georgian period was vested in a landed 
aristocracy, though England's commercial 
policy, especially towards Ireland, would 
show that mercantile interests had also to 
be consulted. Similarly, the journals of the 


House of Commons would prove it to have 
been a close corporation less anxious for the 
reign of law than for its own supremacy over 
the law. It claimed authority to decide by its 
own resolutions who had the right to vote for 
its members and who had the right to a seat. 
It expelled members duly elected, and declared 
candidates elected who had been duly re- 
jected. It repudiated responsibility to public 
opinion as derogatory to its liberties and inde- 
pendence; it excluded strangers, and punished 
the publication of debates and division-lists 
as high misdemeanours. It was a law unto 
itself, and its notions of liberty sometimes 
sank to the level of those of a feudal baron. 

Hence the comparative ease and success 
with which George III filled its sacred pre- 
cincts with his paid battalions of " king's 
friends." He would have been powerless 
against a really representative House; but he 
could buy boroughs and votes as effectively as 
Whig or Tory dukes, and it was his interven- 
tion that raised a doubt in the mind of the 
House whether it might not need some meas- 
ure of reform. The influence of the crown, it 


resolved in 1780, had increased, was increasing, 
and ought to be diminished. But it could only 
be diminished by destroying that basis of 
corruption which supported the power of the 
oligarchs no less than that of the crown. Re- 
form would be a self-denying ordinance, if not 
an act of political suicide, as well as a blow at 
George III. Privileged bodies do not reform 
themselves; proposals by Burke and by Pitt 
and by others were rejected one after another; 
and then the French Revolution came to 
stiffen the wavering ranks of reaction. Not 
till the Industrial Revolution had changed the 
face of England did the old political forces 
acknowledge their defeat and surrender their 
claim to govern the nation against its will. 




In the reign of Elizabeth Englishmen had 
made themselves acquainted with the world. 
They had surveyed it from Greenland's icy 


mountains to India's coral strand, and from 
the Orinoco to Japan, where WilHam Adams 
built the first Japanese navy; they had inter- 
fered in the politics of the Moluccas and had 
sold English woollens in Bokhara; they had 
sailed through the Golden Gate of California 
and up the Golden Horn of the Bosphorus; 
they had crossed the Pacific Ocean and the 
deserts of Central Asia; they had made their 
country known alike to the Great Turk and to 
the Grand Moghul. National unity and the 
fertile mingling of classes had generated this 
expansive energy, for the explorers included 
earls as well as humble mariners and traders; 
and all ranks, from the queen downwards, 
took shares in their "adventures." They 
had thus acquired a body of knowledge and 
experience which makes it misleading to speak 
of their blundering into empire. They soon 
learnt to concentrate their energies upon 
those quarters of the globe in which expansion 
was easiest and most profitable. The East 
India Company had received its charter in 
1600, and the naval defeat of Spain had 
opened the sea to all men; but, with the 


doubtful exception of Newfoundland, Eng- 
land secured no permanent footing outside 
the British Isles until after the crowns of 
England and Scotland had been united. 

This personal union can hardly be called 
part of the expansion of England, but it had 
been prepared by some assimilation and co- 
operation between the two peoples, and it was 
followed by a great deal more. The planta- 
tion of Ulster by English and Scots after the 
flight of the Irish earls of Tyrone and Tyrcon- 
nell in 1607 is one illustration, and Nova 
Scotia is another; but Virginia, the first col- 
ony of the empire, was a purely English enter- 
prise, and it cradled the first-born child of the 
Mother of Parliaments. To Virginia men 
went for profit; principle drove them to New 
England. The Pilgrim Fathers, who sailed in 
the Mayflower in 1620, had separated from the 
church and meant to separate from the state, 
and to set up a polity the antithesis of that of 
Laud and the Stuarts. But there was some- 
thing in common between them; the Puritans, 
too, wanted uniformity, and believed in their 
right to compel all to think, or at least to wor- 


ship, alike. Schism, however, appeals with ill 
grace and little success to authority; and 
dissentients from the dissenters formed Inde- 
pendent offshoots from New England. But 
all these Puritan communities in the north 
were different in character from Virginia in 
the south; they consisted of democratic town- 
ships, Virginia of plantations worked by slaves. 
Slave labour was also the economic basis of 
the colonies established on various West 
Indian islands during the first half of the 
seventeenth century; and this distinction 
between colonies used for exploitation and 
colonies used for settlement has led to im- 
portant constitutional variations in the em- 
pire. Only those colonies in which large 
white communities are settled have received 
self-government; those in which a few whites 
exploit a large coloured population remain 
subject to the control of the home govern- 
ment. The same economic and social differ- 
ences were responsible for the great American 
civil war between North and South in the 
nineteenth century. 

There are three periods in British colonial 


expansion. The first, or introductory period, 
was marked by England's rivalry with Spain 
and Portugal; the second by its rivalry with 
the Dutch; and the third by its rivalry with 
France; and in each the rivalry led to wars 
in which Britain was victorious. The Eliza- 
bethan war with Spain was followed by the 
Dutch wars of the Commonwealth and 
Charles II's reign, and then by the French 
wars, which lasted, with longer or shorter in- 
tervals, from 1688 to 1815. The wars with the 
Dutch showed how completely, in the latter 
half of the seventeenth century, commercial 
interests outweighed those of religion and 
politics. Even when English and Dutch were 
both living under Protestant republics, they 
fought one another rather than the Catholic 
monarchies of France and Spain. Their an- 
tagonism arose over rival claims to sover- 
eignty in the Narrow Seas, which the herring 
fisheries had made as valuable as gold mines, 
and out of competition for the world's carry- 
ing trade and for commerce in the East Indies. 
The last-named source of irritation had led to 
a "massacre" of Englishmen at Amboyna in 


1623, after which the Enghsh abandoned the 
East Indian islands to the Dutch East India 
Company, concentrating their attention upon 
India, where the acquisition of settlements 
at Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay laid the 
foundations of the three great Presidencies of 
the British Empire in India. 

A fatal blow was struck at the Dutch carry- 
ing trade by the Navigation Acts of 1650-1651, 
which provided that all goods imported into 
England or any of its colonies must be brought 
either in English ships or in those of the pro- 
ducing country. The Dutch contested these 
Acts in a stubborn naval war. The great 
Admirals, Van Tromp and Blake, were not 
unevenly matched; but the Dutch failed to 
carry their point. The principle of the Navi- 
gation Acts was reaflSrmed, with some modifi- 
cations, after the Restoration, which made no 
difference to England's commercial and colo- 
nial policy. A second Dutch war accordingly 
broke out in 1664, and this time the Dutch, 
besides failing in their original design, lost the 
New Netherland colony they had established 
in North America. Portions of it became New 


York, so named after the future James II, 
who was Duke of York and Lord High Ad- 
miral, and other parts were colonized as Penn- 
sylvania by the Quaker, William Penn. The 
great importance of this acquisition was that 
it drove out the wedge dividing the New Eng- 
land colonies to the north from Virginia and 
Maryland, which had been founded in Charles 
I's reign, mainly as a refuge for Roman Cath- 
olics, to the south; and this continuous line of 
British colonies along the Atlantic seaboard 
was soon continued southwards by the settle- 
ment of the two Carolinas. The colonization 
of Georgia, still further south, in the reign 
of George II, completed the thirteen colonies 
which became the original United States. 

France now overshadowed Holland as Eng- 
land's chief competitor. Canada, originally 
colonized by the French, had been conquered 
by the English in 1629, but speedily restored 
by Charles I; and towards the close of the 
seventeenth century France began to think of 
uniting Canada with another French colony, 
Louisiana, by a chain of posts along the 
Mississippi. Colbert, Louis XIV's minister. 


had greatly developed French commerce, 
navy, and navigation; and the Mississippi 
Company was an important factor in French 
history early in the eighteenth century. This 
design, if successful, would have neutralized 
the advantage England had secured in the 
possession of the Atlantic seaboard of North 
America, and have made the vast West a 
heritage of France. 

Nevertheless, the wars of William III 
and Anne were not in the main colonial. 
Louis' support of James II, and his recog- 
nition of the Old Pretender, were blows at 
the heart of the empire. Moderate success on 
James's part might have led to its dismember- 
ment, to the separation of Catholic Ireland 
and the Scottish Highlands from the remain- 
der of the British Isles; and dominion abroad 
would not long have survived disruption at 
home. The battle of the Boyne (1690) dis- 
posed of Irish independence, and the Act of 
Union with Scotland (1707) ensured Great 
Britain against the revival of separate sover- 
eignties north and south of the Tweed. Scot- 
land surrendered her independent parliament 


and administration : it received instead the pro- 
tection of the Navigation laws, representation 
in both houses of the United Parh'ament, and 
the privilege of free trade with England and its 
colonies — which put an end to the tariff wars 
waged between the two countries in the sev- 
enteenth century; and it retained its estab- 
lished Presbyterian church. Forty -five Scot- 
tish members were to sit in the House of Com- 
mons, and sixteen Scottish peers elected by 
their fellows for each parliament in the House 
of Lords. Scottish peers who were not thus 
chosen could neither sit in the House of Lords 
nor seek election to the House of Commons. 

In time this union contributed materially to 
the expansive energy of the British Empire, 
but it did not substantially help Marlborough 
to win his brilliant victories in the war with 
France (1702-1713). Apart from the general 
defeat of Louis XIV's ambition to dominate 
Europe, the most important result, from the 
British point of view, was the definite estab- 
lishment of Great Britain as a Mediterranean 
power by the acquisition of Gibraltar and 
Minorca. English expeditions against Can- 


ada had not been very successful, but the 
Peace of Utrecht (1713) finally secured for the 
empire the outworks of the Canadian citadel 
• — Hudson's Bay Territories, Newfoundland, 
and the future provinces of Nova Scotia and 
New Brunswick. The trading privileges 
which Great Britain also secured in Spanish 
America both assisted the vast growth of 
British commerce under Walpole's pacific rule, 
and provoked the war with Spain in 1739 
which helped to bring about his fall. This 
war, which soon merged in the war of the 
Austrian Succession (1741-1748), was inde- 
cisive in its colonial aspects, and left the ques- 
tion of French or English predominance in 
India and North America to be settled in 
the Seven Years' War of 1756-1763. 

War, however, decides little by itself, and 
three of the world's greatest soldiers, Alex- 
ander, Hannibal, and Napoleon, founded no 
permanent empires. An excellent servant, 
but a bad master, the soldier needs to be the 
instrument of other than military forces if his 
labours are to last; and the permanence of the 
results of the Seven Years' War is due less 


to the genius of Pitt, Wolfe, Clive, and Howe 
than to the causes which laid the foundations 
of their achievements. The future of North 
America was determined not so much by 
Wolfe's capture of Quebec — which had fallen 
into British hands before — as by the fact that 
before the Seven Years' War broke out there 
were a million and a quarter British colonists 
against some eighty thousand French. If 
Canada had not fallen in the Seven Years' 
War, it would have succumbed to British arms 
in the wars of the French Revolution and 
Napoleon. The fate of India seemed less 
certain, and the genius of Dupleix roused 
better hopes for France; yet India, defence- 
less as it was against European forces, was 
bound to fall a prize to the masters of the 
sea, unless some European state could control 
its almost impassable overland approaches. 
Clive, perhaps, was almost as much the bril- 
liant adventurer as Dupleix, but he was sup- 
ported at iieed by an organized government 
more susceptible than the French ancien 
regime to the pressure of commercial interests 
and of popular ambitions. 


The conquest of Canada led to the loss of 
the thirteen American colonies. Their orig- 
inal bias towards separation had never been 
eradicated, and the recurrent quarrels be- 
tween the various legislatures and their gov- 
ernors had only been prevented from coming 
to a head by fear of the Frenchmen at 
their gates and disunion among themselves. 
Charles II and James II wanted to centralize 
the New England colonies on a monarchical 
basis; and they began by attacking their 
charters in much the same way as they dealt 
with the Puritan corporations of English 
cities and boroughs. Those of Massachusetts, 
Connecticut, and Rhode Island were forfeited, 
and these colonies were thus provided with a 
grievance common to themselves and to the 
mother-country. But, while the Revolution 
supplied a remedy at home, it did not in the 
colonies. Their charters, indeed, were re- 
stored; but when the Massachusetts legisla- 
ture passed a bill similar to the Bill of Rights, 
the royal assent was not accorded, and the 
colonists remained liable to taxation without 
their own consent. This theoretical right of 


Great Britain to tax the American colonies 
was wisely left in abeyance until George Gren- 
ville's righteous soul was vexed with the 
thought that colonists, for whose benefit the 
Seven Years' War had largely been waged, 
should escape contribution towards its ex- 
penses. Walpole had reduced the duties on 
colonial produce and had winked at the sys- 
tematic evasion of the Navigation Acts by the 
colonists. Grenville was incapable of such 
statesmanlike obliquity. He tried to stop 
smuggling; he asserted the right of the home 
government to control the vast hinterland 
from which the colonists thought that the 
French had been evicted for their particular 
benefit; and he passed the Stamp Act, levy- 
ing internal taxation from the colonies with- 
out consulting their legislatures. 

Security from the French made the colo- 
nists think they were independent of the Brit- 
ish, and, having an inordinate proportion of 
lawyers among them, they did not lack plaus- 
ible arguments. They admitted the right of 
the British parliament to impose external 
taxes, such as customs duties, on the colonies, 


but denied its right to levy internal taxation. 
The distinction was well established in Eng- 
lish constitutional history, and kings had long 
enjoyed powers over the customs which they 
had lost over direct taxation. But the Eng- 
lish forefathers of the Puritan colonists had 
seen to it that control over direct, led to con- 
trol over indirect, taxation; and it may be as- 
sumed that the American demand for the one 
would, if granted, soon have been followed by 
a demand for the other. In any case, reasons 
for separation would not have been long in 
forthcoming. It was not that the old colonial 
system was particularly harsh or oppressive; 
for the colonial producer, if restricted (nom- 
inally) to the home market, was well protected 
there. But the colonists wanted complete 
control over their own domestic affairs. It 
was a natural and a thoroughly British de- 
sire, the denial of which to-day would at once 
provoke the disruption of the empire; and 
there was no reason to expect colonial content 
with a government which was not giving much 
satisfaction in England. A peaceful solution 
was out of the question, because the governing 


classes, which steadily resisted English de- 
mands for reform, were not likely to concede 
American demands for radical innovations. 
There were no precedents for such a self- 
denying ordinance as the grant of colonial 
self-government, and law was on the side of 
George III. But things that are lawful are 
not always expedient, and legal justification 
is no proof of wisdom or statesmanship. 

The Enghsh people supported George III 
until he had failed; but there was not much 
enthusiasm for the war, except at places like 
Birmingham, which possessed a small-arms 
manufactory and other stimulants to patriotic 
fervour. It was badly mismanaged by George, 
and Whigs did their best to hamper his efforts, 
fearing, with some reason, that success in 
North America would encourage despotic en- 
terprise at home. George would, however, in 
all probability have won but for the interven- 
tion of France and Spain (1778-1779), who 
hoped to wipe off the scores of the Seven 
Years' War, and for the armed neutrality of 
Russia and Holland (1780), who resented the 
arrogant claims of the British to right of 


search on the high seas. At the critical mo- 
ment Britain lost the command of the sea; and 
although Rodney's naval victory (1782) and 
the successful defence of Gibraltar (1779- 
1783) enabled her to obtain tolerable terms 
from her European enemies, American inde- 
pendence had to be granted (1783). For 
Ireland was on the verge of revolt, and British 
dominion in India was shaken to its founda- 
tions. So the two great sections of the Eng- 
lish people parted company, perhaps to their 
mutual profit. Certainly each government 
has now enough to do without solving the 
other's problems, and it is well-nigh impossible 
to conceive a state maintaining its equilibrium 
or its equanimity with two such partners as 
the British Empire and the United States 
struggling for predominance within it. 

Meanwhile, Warren Hastings saved the 
situation in India by means that were above 
the Oriental but below the normal English 
standard of morality. He was impeached for 
his pains later on by the ^Vhigs, whose moral 
indignation was sharpened by resentment at 
the use of Anglo-Indian gold to defeat them 


at the general election of 1784. Ireland was 
placated by the grant of legislative independ- 
ence (1782), a concession both too wide and 
too narrow to provide any real solution of her 
difficulties. It was too wide because Grattan's 
parliament, as it is called, was co-ordinate 
with, and not subordinate to, the imperial 
parliament; and there was thus no supreme 
authority to settle differences, which sooner 
or later were bound to arise between the two. 
It was too narrow, because the Irish executive 
remained responsible to Downing Street and 
not to the Irish parliament. The parliament, 
moreover, did not represent the Irish people; 
Catholics were excluded from it, and until 
1793 were denied the vote; sixty seats were 
in the hands of three families, and a majority 
of the members were returned by pocket- 
boroughs. A more hopeless want of system 
can hardly be imagined : a corrupt aristocracy, 
a ferocious commonalty, a distracted govern- 
ment, a divided people — such was the verdict 
of a contemporary politician. At length, after 
a Protestant revolt in Ulster, a Catholic rising 
in the south, and a French invasion, Pitt 


bribed and cajoled the borough-mongers to 
consent to union with Great Britain (1800). 
Thirty -two Irish peers, twenty-eight temporal 
and four spiritual, were to sit in the House of 
Lords, and a hundred Irish members in the 
House of Commons. The realization of the 
prospect of Roman Catholic Emancipation, 
which had been held out as a further consider- 
ation, was postponed by the prejudices of 
George III until its saving grace had been lost. 
Grattan's prophecy of retribution for the 
destruction of Irish liberty has often been 
quoted: "We will avenge ourselves," he said, 
"by sending into the ranks of your parliament, 
and into the very heart of your constitution, 
one hundred of the greatest scoundrels in the 
kingdom"; but it is generally forgotten that he 
had in mind the kind of members nominated 
by peers and borough-mongers to represent 
them in an unreformed House of Commons. 

The loss of the American colonies threw a 
shadow over British colonial enterprise which 
had some lasting effects on the colonial policy 
of the mother-country. The severance did 
not, as is often supposed, convince Great 


Britain that the grant of self-government to 
colonies was the only means to retain them. 
But they had been esteemed mainly as mar- 
kets for British exports, and the discovery that 
British exports to America increased, instead 
of diminishing, after the grant of independ- 
ence, raised doubts about the value of colonies 
which explain the comparative indifference of 
public opinion towards them during the next 
half-century. For the commercial conception 
of empire was still in the ascendant; and if the 
landed interest controlled the domestic poli- 
tics of the eighteenth century, the commercial 
interest determined the outlines of British 
expansion. Territory was acquired or strong- 
holds seized in order to provide markets and 
guard trade communications. 

From this point of view India became, after 
the loss of the American colonies, the domi- 
nant factor in British external policy. The 
monetary value of India to the British far 
exceeded that of all their other foreign pos- 
sessions put together. The East India Com- 
pany's servants often amassed huge fortunes 
in a few years, and the influence of this wealth 


upon British politics became very apparent in 
the last quarter of the century. It put up the 
price of parliamentary pocket-boroughs, and 
thus delayed reform; it enabled commercial 
men to force their way into the House of Lords 
by the side of landed magnates, and the 
younger Pitt doubled its numbers in his efforts 
to win the political support of the moneyed 
classes; and finally, it affected consciously or 
unconsciously men's views of the interests of 
the empire and of the policy to be pursued to 
serve them. 

The half -century which followed the Ameri- 
can War of Independence was not, indeed, 
barren of results in other directions than those 
indicated by the East India Company. Can- 
ada was saved from the seductions of Ameri- 
can independence by a wise recognition of its 
established customs and religion (1774), and 
was strengthened by the influx of United Em- 
pire Loyalists who would not bow the knee to 
republican separatism. Provision was made 
for the government of these somewhat discord- 
ant elements by dividing Canada into two 
provinces, one predominantly French, the 


other British, and giving each a legislature 
for the voicing of its grievances (1791). So, 
too, the impulse of the Seven Years' War sur- 
vived the War of Independence in other quar- 
ters of the globe. Naval officers, released from 
war-like operations, were sent to explore the 
Pacific; and, among them. Captain James 
Cook surveyed the coasts of Australia and 
New Zealand (1770). The enthusiastic natu- 
ralist of the expedition, Joseph Banks, persist- 
ently sang the praises of Botany Bay; but the 
new acquisition was used as a convict settle- 
ment (1788), which was hardly a happy 
method of extending British civilization. 
The origin of Australia differed from that 
of New England, in that the Pilgrim Fathers 
wanted to avoid the mother-country; while 
the mother-country wanted to avoid the 
convicts; but in neither case was there any 
imperialism in the aversion. 

India was, in fact, the chief outlet at that 
period for British imperial sentiment. It is 
true that Great Britain laid down in solemn 
official language, in 1784, that the acquisition 
of territory was repugnant to the principles of 


British government. But so had Frederick the 
Great begun his career by writing a refutation 
of Machiavelli; circumstances, and something 
within which made for empire, proved too 
strong for Kberal intentions, and the only Brit- 
ish war waged between the Peace of Versailles 
in 1783 and the rupture with Revolutionary 
France in 1793 resulted in the dismemberment 
of Tippoo Sultan's kingdom of Mysore (1792). 
The crusading truculence of the French repub- 
licans, and Napoleon's ambition, made the 
security of the British Isles Pitt's first consid- 
eration; but when that was confirmed by 
naval victories over the French on the 1st of 
June, 1794, and at the battle of the Nile in 
1798, over the Dutch at Camperdown and 
over the Spaniards at Cape St. Vincent in 
1797, over the Danes at Copenhagen in 1801, 
and over the French and Spaniards combined 
at Trafalgar in 1805, Great Britain concen- 
trated its energies mainly on extending its hold 
on India and the Far East, and on strengthen- 
ing its communications with them. The pur- 
pose of the battle of the Nile was to evict 
Napoleon from Egypt, which he had occupied 


as a stepping-stone to India, and Malta was 
seized (1800) with a similar object. Mauri- 
tius, too, was taken (1810), because it had 
formed a profitable basis of operations for 
French privateers against the East India 
trade; and the Cape of Good Hope was con- 
quered from the Dutch, the reluctant allies of 
the French, in 1795, as a better half-way house 
to India than St. Helena, which England had 
acquired from the same colonial rivals in 1673. 
The Cape was restored in 1802, but recon- 
quered in 1806 and retained in 1815. 

In the Far East, British dominion was rap- 
idly extended under the stimulus of the Mar- 
quess Wellesley, elder brother of the Duke of 
Wellington, who endeavoured in redundantly 
eloquent despatches to reconcile his deeds 
with the pacific tone of his instructions. Cey- 
lon was taken from the Dutch in 1796, and 
was not restored like Java, which suffered a 
similar conquest; and British settlements were 
soon afterwards founded at Singapore and on 
the Malay Peninsula. In India itself Tippoo 
was defeated and slain in his capital at Sering- 
apatam in 1799, the Mahrattas were crushed 


at Assye and Argaum in 1803, the nabob was 
forced to surrender the Carnatic, and the 
vizier the province of Oudh, until the whole 
coast-line of India and the valley of the 
Ganges had passed directly or indirectly under 
British control. These regions were con- 
quered partly because they were more attrac- 
tive and accessible to the British, and partly 
to prevent their being accessible to the French; 
the poorer and more difficult mountainous 
districts of the Deccan, isolated from foreign 
infection, were left under native rulers. 

The final overthrow of Napoleon, to which 
Great Britain had contributed more by its 
efforts in the Spanish Peninsular War (1808- 
1814) than at the crowning mercy of Water- 
loo, confirmed its conquests in India and its 
control of the trade routes of the world. Its 
one permanent failure during the war was 
Whitelocke's expedition to Buenos Ayres in 
1807; that attack was not repeated because 
the Spaniards having, by their revolt against 
Napoleon, become England's allies, it was 
hardly fair to appropriate their colonies; and 
so South America was left to work out its 


destinies under Latin and not Teutonic in- 
fluence. Most of the West Indian islands, 
however, with British Honduras and British 
Guiana on the mainland, had been acquired 
for the empire, which had now secured foot- 
holds in all the continents of the world. The 
development of those footholds into great 
self-governing communities, the unique and 
real achievement of the British Empire, was 
the work of the nineteenth century; and its 
accomplishment depended upon the effects of 
the changes known to us as the Industrial 



The Industrial Revolution is a phrase in- 
vented by Arnold Toynbee, and now generally 
used to indicate those economic changes 
which turned England from an agricultural 
into an industrial community. The period 
during which these changes took place cannot 
from the nature of things be definitely fixed; 


but usually it is taken to extend from about 
the middle of the eighteenth century to the 
close of the reign of George III. Two points, 
however, must be remembered: first, that 
there was a commercial as well as an agri- 
cultural and an industrial stage of develop- 
ment; and secondly, that this period contains 
merely the central and crucial years of a proc- 
ess of specialization and expansion which oc- 
cupied centuries of English economic history. 
There was also before the agricultural stage a 
pastoral stage; but that lies beyond the scope 
of English history, because both the English 
people and the Celts they conquered had 
passed out of the pastoral stage before re- 
corded English history begins. Each of these 
stages corresponds to a different social organ- 
ization: the pastoral stage was patriarchal, 
the agricultural stage was feudal, the com- 
mercial stage was plutocratic, and the in- 
dustrial stage leads towards democracy. The 
stages, of course, overlap one another, and 
every national community to-day is partly 
pastoral, partly agricultural, partly commer- 
cial, and partly industrial. We can only call 


a nation any one of these things in the sense 
that they denote its dominant characteristic. 
This evolution has been the result of man's 
increasing control over nature. In the pas- 
toral stage he takes of the produce of nature, 
providing little or nothing himself. In the 
agricultural stage he manipulates the soil and 
subdues it, he harnesses the wind and the 
streams to grind his corn, and to water his 
land; Providence may have placed all things 
under his feet, but he takes long to discover 
their use and the means to use them. In the 
commercial and industrial stages he employs 
the wind and water, steam and electricity, 
for transport, communications, and manu- 
factures. But he can only develop this 
mastery by the interdependent processes of 
specialization, co-operation, and expansion. 
A lonely shepherd can live on his flocks with- 
out help; a single family can provide for its 
own agricultural subsistence, and the normal 
holding of the primitive English family, the 
"hide" as it was called, was really a share in 
all the means of livelihood, corn-land, pasture- 
land, rights of common and of cutting wood. 


This family independence long survived, and 
home-brewing, home-baking, home-washing, 
are not even now extinct. Each family in the 
primitive village did everything for itself. 
When its needs and standard of comfort grew, 
increased facilities beyond the reach of the 
individual household were provided by the 
lord of the manor, as, for instance, a mill, a 
bakehouse, a wine-press. Indeed, the pos- 
session of these things may have helped him 
into the lordship of the manor. Certainly, 
some of them are mentioned in early Anglo- 
Saxon days among the qualifications for 
thegnhood, and when the lord possessed these 
things, he claimed a monopoly; his tenants 
were bound to grind their corn at his mill, 
and so forth. But there were things he did 
not care to do, and a villager here and there 
began to specialize in such trades as the 
blacksmith's, carpenter's, and mason's. This 
specialization involved co-operation and the 
expansion of household economy into village 
economy. Others must do the blacksmith's 
sowing and reaping, while he did the shoeing 
for the whole village. 


Thus village industries grew up, and in 
unprogressive countries, such as India, where, 
owing to distance and lack of communica- 
tions, villages were isolated and self-sufficing, 
this village economy became stereotyped, and 
the village trades hereditary. But in western 
Europe, as order was slowly evolved after the 
chaos of the Dark Ages, communications and 
trade-routes were opened up; and whole 
villages began to specialize in certain in- 
dustries, leaving other commodities to be 
produced by other communities. For the 
exchange of these commodities markets and 
fairs were established at various convenient 
centres; and this in turn led to the specializa- 
tion of traders and merchants, who did not 
make, but only arranged for the barter of, 
manufactures. Through the development of 
local industries and markets, villages grew 
into towns, and towns expanded with the ex- 
tent of the area they supplied. A town which 
supplied a nation with cutlery, for instance, 
was necessarily bigger than a town which 
only supplied a county. This expansion of 
markets meant that towns and cities were 


more and more specializing in some one or 
more industries, leaving the great majority 
of their needs to be supplied from elsewhere; 
and the whole process was based on the 
growing complexity of civilization, on the 
multiplying number of implements required 
to do the work of the world. 

The comparatively simple organization of 
feudal society broke down under the stress 
of these changes; a middle class, consisting 
of neither lords nor villeins, was needed to 
cope with industry and commerce. Hand- 
workers also were required, so that from the 
middle of the fourteenth century we find a 
regular flight from the land to the towns in 
progress. Another great change took place. 
No one had been rich according to modern 
notions in the early Middle Ages, and no one 
had been destitute; there was no need of a 
Poor Law. But with the expansion of the 
sphere of men's operations, the differences be- 
tween the poor and the rich began to increase. 
There is little to choose between a slow runner 
and a swift when the race covers only ten 
yards; there is more when it covers a hundred. 


and a great deal when it covers a mile. So, 
too, when operations are limited to the village 
market, ability has a limited scope, and the 
able financier does not grow so very much 
richer than his neighbour. But when his 
market comprises a nation, his means for ac- 
quiring wealth are extended; the rich become 
richer, and the poor, comparatively at any 
rate, poorer. Hence, when in the fourteenth 
and following centuries the national market 
expands into a world market, we find growing 
up side by side capitalism and destitution; 
and the reason why there are so many mil- 
lionaires and so much destitution to-day, 
compared with earlier times, is that the world 
is now one market, and the range of operations 
is only limited by the globe. 

The control of the world's supplies tends to 
get into the hands of a few big producers or 
operators instead of being in the hands of a 
vast number of small ones; and this has come 
about through ever-expanding markets and 
ever-increasing specialization. Even whole 
nations specialize more or less; some produce 
the corn-supply of the world, some its coal. 


some its oil, and some do its carrying trade. 
It is now a question whether there should not 
be some limits to this process, and it is asked 
whether a nation or empire should not be 
seK-supporting, irrespective of the economic 
advantages of expansion and specialization, 
and of the fact that the more self-supporting 
it is, the less trade can it do with others; for 
it cannot export unless it imports, and if 
each nation makes everything it wants itself 
it will neither sell to, nor buy from, other 

There have been two periods in EngHsh 
history during which these general tendencies 
have been especially marked. One was at the 
close of the Middle Ages, and the other during 
the reign of George III. The break-up of the 
manorial system, the growth of a body of 
mobile labour, and of capital seeking invest- 
ment, the discovery of new worlds and new 
markets, heralded the advent of the middle 
class and of the commercial age. Custom, 
which had regulated most things in the Mid- 
dle Ages, gave way to competition, which de- 
fied all regulation; and England became a 


nation of privateers, despoiling the church, 
Spain, Ireland, and often the commonwealth 
itself. Scores of acts against fraudulent manu- 
facturers and against inclosures were passed 
in vain, because they ran counter to economic 
conditions. The products of the new factories, 
like Jack of Newbury's kerseys, could not 
equal in quality the older home-made article, 
because the home-made article was produced 
under non-economic conditions. Spinsters to- 
day knit better garments than those turned 
out in bulk, because neither time nor money 
is any consideration with them; they knit 
for occupation, not for a living, and they can 
afford to devote more labour to their produce 
than they could possibly do if they depended 
upon it for subsistence. The case was the 
same with the home-products of earlier times, 
and compared with them the newer factory- 
product was shoddy; because, if the manu- 
facturer was to earn a living from his industry 
he must produce a certain quantity within a 
limited time. These by-products of the home 
were enabled to hold their own against the 
factory products until the development of 


machinery in the eighteenth century; and 
until that time the factory system, although 
factories existed on a rudimentary scale, did 
not fully develop. So far as it did develop, 
it meant an increase in the efficiency and in 
the total wealth of the nation, but a decrease 
in the prosperity of thousands of individual 

The effect of inclosures was very similar. 
The old system of the villagers cultivating in 
turn strips of land in open fields was undoubt- 
edly unsound, if the amount of wealth pro- 
duced is the sole criterion; but it produced 
enough for the individual village-community, 
and the increased production accruing from 
inclosures went to swell the total wealth of 
the nation and of those who manipulated it at 
the cost of the tillers of the soil. The cost to 
the community was potential rather than 
actual; common lands which are now worth 
millions were appropriated by landlords in 
defiance of the law. This illegality was reme- 
died in 1549, not by stopping the inclosures 
but by making them legal, provided that 
"sufficient" commons were left; if the in- 


closer considered his leavings enough, the 
gainsaying of the tenants was to be ignored, 
or punished as treason or felony in case of 
persistence. England, however, was still 
fairly big for its three or four millions of souls, 
and an Act of Queen Elizabeth provided that 
every new cottage built should stand in four 
acres of its own. This anticipation of the 
demand for three acres and a cow did some- 
thing to check excessive specialization; for 
the tenants of these cottages added a little 
cultivation on their own account to their 
occupations as hired labourers or village arti- 
sans. In the seventeenth century the land- 
hunger of the landlords was generally sated 
by schemes for draining and embanking; 
and vast tracts of fen and marsh, such as 
Hatfield Chase and Bedford Level, were 
thus brought under cultivation. 

Commerce rather than industrialism or 
agriculture is the distinctive feature of Eng- 
lish economy during the seventeenth and first 
half of the eighteenth century. By means of 
newly developed trade-routes, the East and 
the West were tapped for such products as 


tobacco, tea, coffee, cocoa, sugar, rum, spices, 
oranges, lemons, raisins, currants, silks, cot- 
ton, rice, and others with which England had 
previously somehow or other dispensed; and 
the principal bone of contention was the car- 
rying trade of the world. Shipbuilding was 
the most famous English industry; and when 
Peter the Great visited England, he spent 
most of his time in the Deptford yards. For 
some of these imports England paid by her 
services as carrier; and so far as India was 
concerned it was a case of robbery rather than 
exchange. But exports were more and more 
required to pay for the ever-increasing im- 
ports. It is impossible to state categorically 
either that the imports provoked the exports 
or the exports the imports; for the supply 
creates the demand as much as the demand 
creates the supply. There can have been no 
conscious demand for tobacco in England 
before any Englishman had smoked a pipe; 
and when an English merchant in Elizabeth's 
reign took a thousand kerseys to Bokhara, he 
did so without waiting for an order. Both 
exports and imports, however, can only de- 


velop together; the dimensions to which 
EngHsh commerce had attained by Walpole's 
time involved exports as well as imports; and 
the exports could not have been provided 
without developing English industries. 

In particular, England had to export to the 
colonies because the colonies had by the 
Navigation Acts to export to England; and 
Walpole's abolition or reduction of duties on 
colonial produce illustrated and encouraged 
the growth of this trade. In return for colo- 
nial tobacco, rice, cotton, sugar, England sent 
chiefly woollen and afterwards cotton manu- 
factures. These woollens had long been 
manufactured on the domestic system in the 
sheep-rearing districts of England, particu- 
larly Yorkshire; many a cottage with its four 
acres for farming had also its spinning-wheel, 
and many a village its loom; and the cloth 
when finished was conveyed by pack-horses 
or waggons to the markets and fairs to be sold 
for export or home consumption. But be- 
tween 1764 and 1779 a series of inventions by 
Arkwright, Hargreaves, and Crompton, trans- 
formed the simple spinning-wheel into an 


elaborate machine capable of doing the work 
of many spinners; and once more an advance 
in national productivity was made at the 
expense of the individual workers who took 
to breaking the machines to stop their loss of 

Similar changes followed in cotton-spinning 
and other industries, and the result was to 
alter the whole economic structure of Eng- 
land. The cottager could not afford the new 
and expensive m^achinery, and his spinning- 
wheels and hand-looms were hopelessly beaten 
in the competition. Huge factories were re- 
quired for the new inventions, where the 
workers were all huddled together instead of 
working in their scattered homes; and large 
populations grew up around these new and 
artificial manufacturing centres. Their local- 
ity was, however, determined by natural 
causes; at first water-power was the best 
available force to drive the new machines, 
and consequently towns sprang up along the 
banks of rivers. But Watt's application of 
steam-power to machinery soon supplanted 
water; and for steam-power coal and iron were 


the greatest necessities. Factories therefore 
tended to congregate where coal and iron were 
found; and the need for these materials cre- 
ated the coal and iron industries. Moreover, 
the pack-horse, the waggon, and the old un- 
metalled roads soon proved inadequate for 
the new requirements of transport. For a 
time canals became the favourite substitute, 
and many were constructed. Then Macadam 
invented his method of making roads; finally, 
Stephenson developed the steam locomotive, 
and the railway system came into existence. 
Closely connected with these changes was 
a renewal of the inclosure movement. The 
introduction of turnips and other roots, and 
the development of the rotation of crops in- 
creased the value of the soil and revived the 
stimulus to inclosure; and hundreds of inclo- 
sure acts were hurriedly passed by a parlia- 
ment which contained no representatives of 
those who suffered from the process. It was 
assisted by the further specialization conse- 
quent upon the industrial revolution; while 
the agricultural labourer gave up spinning 
under the stress of factory competition, the 


spinner deserted his cottage and four acres in 
the country, to seek a dwelKng near the fac- 
tory which employed him; and the EHza- 
bethan Act, insisting upon the allocation of 
four acres to each new cottage built, was re- 
pealed. But for that repeal, factory slums 
would be garden cities, unless the incubus of 
this provision had stopped the factory devel- 
opment. The final result of the inclosure 
movement upon the country was to deprive 
the public of most of its commons and open 
spaces, to deprive the agricultural labourer 
of all right in the soil he tilled, and to rob 
him of that magic of property which, in 
Arthur Young's phrase, turned sand into gold. 
The inevitable adjustment of the popula- 
tion to these altered economic conditions 
entirely changed its distribution. Hitherto 
the progressive and predominant parts of 
England had been the south and east; con- 
servatism found its refuge in the north and 
west, which rebelled against the Tudors and 
fought for Charles I. The south and east had 
been the manufacturing centres because iron 
was smelted with wood and not with coal. 


Now that coal was substituted for wood, the 
juxtaposition of coal and iron mines in the 
north attracted thither the industries of the 
nation, while the special features of its climate 
made South Lancashire the home of cotton- 
spinning. The balance of population and 
political power followed. To-day southern 
England, apart from London and some other 
ports, hardly does more than subsist, and its 
occupations are largely parasitic. The work 
and the wealth and the trade which support 
the empire and its burdens have their origin 
and being in the north. 

The population not only shifted, but rap- 
idly increased. The uprooting of peasants 
from their little plots of land which acted in 
medieval England and acts to-day in France 
as a check upon breeding, and their herding 
in crowded tenements, weakened both moral 
and prudential restraints in the towns; while 
in the country the well-meant but ill-con- 
sidered action of the justices of the peace in 
supplementing the beggarly wages of the 
labourers by grants out of the rates propor- 
tioned to the number of each man's children 


produced a similar effect. The result was an 
increase in the population welcome to patriots 
who hoped for hordes of soldiers and sailors to 
fight Napoleon, but startling to economists 
like Malthus, who inferred therefrom a natural 
law constraining population to outrun the 
earth's increase. Malthus did not foresee the 
needs of the empire, nor realize that the rapid 
growth in the population of his day was 
largely due to the absence from the prole- 
tariate of a standard of comfort and decency. 
Without the Industrial Revolution Great 
Britain would not have been able to people 
the lands she had marked for her own. 

This increase and shifting of the people 
put the finishing touch to the incongruities of 
the old political system, in which vast centres 
of population teeming with life and throb- 
bing with industry were unrepresented, while 
members sat in parliament for boroughs so 
decayed that nothing was left of them but a 
green mound, a park, or a ruined wall. The 
struggle with the French Revolution and then 
with Napoleon gave the vested interests a 
respite from their doom; and for seventeen 


years after its close the Tories sat, clothed in 
the departing glories of the war, upon the 
safety-valve of constitutional reform. Then 
in 1832, after one general election fought on 
this issue, and after further resistance by the 
House of Lords on behalf of the liberties of 
borough-proprietors and faggot- voters, the 
threat to create peers induced a number to 
abstain sufficient to ensure the passing of 
the first Reform Bill. It was a moderate 
measure to have brought the country to the 
verge of political revolution; roughly, it dis- 
franchised a number of poor voters, but en- 
franchised the mass of the middle and lower 
middle-class. Absolutely rotten boroughs 
were abolished, but a large number of very 
small ones were retained, and the representa- 
tion of the new towns was somewhat grudg- 
ing and restricted. A more drastic measure, 
giving the vote to most of the town artisans 
was — being introduced by a Tory minister, 
Disraeli, in 1867 — passed by the House of 
Lords without difficulty. The last alteration 
of the franchise, giving the vote to agricultural 
labourers was — being introduced by Glad- 


stone in 1884— only passed by the House of 
Lords at the second time of asking and after 
an agitation. 

PoHtical emancipation was but one of the 
results of the Industrial Revolution; com- 
mercial expansion was another. England had 
now definitely and decisively specialized in 
certain industries; she could only do so by 
relying upon external sources for her supply 
of other wants. The more her new industries 
gave her to export, the more she required to 
import from customers upon whose wealth 
her own prosperity depended. In particular, 
England became dependent upon foreign 
producers for her food supplies. During the 
war the foreign supply of corn was so ham- 
pered that it was as dear to import as to grow 
at home; but after the peace the price began 
to fall, and the farmers and landlords, whose 
rents depended ultimately upon the price of 
corn, demanded protection corresponding to 
that which extensive tariffs on imported 
articles gave to the manufacturers. The 
manufacturers, on the other hand, wanted 
cheap food for their workpeople in order to 


be able to pay them low wages. As a com- 
promise, the Corn Laws of 1814 and 1828 pro- 
vided a sliding scale of duties which rose as 
prices fell, and fell as prices rose, a preference 
being given to colonial wheat. 

The Reform Act of 1832, however, and the 
rapid increase of manufactures, transferred 
the balance of power in parliament from the 
landed to the manufacturing classes; factory 
hands were persuaded that the repeal of the 
duties would largely increase the value of 
their wages; and the failure of the potato- 
crop in Ireland in 1845-46 rendered an in- 
crease of imported food-stuffs imperative. Sir 
Robert Peel accordingly carried a measure in 
1846 providing for the gradual abolition of the 
corn-duties, saving only a registration duty of 
one shilling, which was removed some twenty 
years later. This repeal of the Corn Laws 
did not appreciably affect the price of corn, 
the great reduction of which was subsequently 
effected by the vast expansion of corn-growing 
areas in the colonies and abroad. But it 
enormously increased the supply at once, and 
gradually gave England the full benefit of 


growing areas and declining prices. It is 
obvious that the retention of the duty, which 
had been fixed at Ms. Sd. in 1828 when the 
price was 6^s. or less a quarter, would have 
prevented prices falling as they subsequently 
did below the Value of the duty; and it is no 
less certain that it would have impeded the 
development of corn-growing districts in the 
colonies and abroad, and of British imports 
from, and exports to, them. 

The enormous increase in the import of 
corn helped, in fact, to double British exports 
within ten years. This was the result of the 
general freeing of trade, of which the repeal 
of the Corn Laws was only a part. In the 
third quarter of the eighteenth century there 
were hundreds of Acts, covering thousands of 
pages, on the statute-book, imposing an 
infinity of chaotic duties on every kind of im- 
port; they made the customs costly to collect 
and easy to evade; and the industry they 
stimulated most was smuggling. The younger 
Pitt, influenced by Adam Smith, whose 
Wealth of Nations appeared in 1776, reduced 
and simplified these duties; but 443 Acts still 


survived when in 1825 Huskisson and other 
enlightened statesmen secured their consoli- 
dation and reduction to eleven. This Tariff 
Reform, as its supporters called it, was a step 
towards Free Trade. Peel gradually adopted 
its principles, induced partly by the failure 
of his efforts to use existing duties for pur- 
poses of retaliation; and between 1841 and 
1846 he abolished the duties on 605 articles 
and reduced them on 1035 more, imposing 
a direct income-tax to replace the indirect 
taxes thus repealed. The process was com- 
pleted by Gladstone, and what is called Free 
Trade was established as the fundamental 
principle of English financial policy. 

This does not mean that no duties are 
imposed on exports or imports; it simply 
means that such duties as are levied are im- 
posed for the sake of revenue, and to protect 
neither the consumer from the export of com- 
modities he desires to purchase, nor the 
manufacturer from the import of those he 
wishes to make. The great interests con- 
nected with land and manufactures had 
ceased to hang together, and fell separately. 


Protection of manufactured goods did not 
long survive the successful attack which 
manufacturers had levelled against the pro- 
tected produce of the landlords and the 
farmers. The repeal of the Navigation Acts 
rounded off the system; British shipping, 
indeed, needed no protection, but the ad- 
mission of colonial goods free of duty and the 
removal of the embargo on their trade with 
foreign countries may not have compensated 
the colonies for the loss of their preference 
in the British market. The whole trend of 
affairs, however, both conscious and uncon- 
scious, was to make the world one vast hive 
of industry, instead of an infinite number 
of self-sufficient, separate hives; the village 
market had expanded into the provincial 
market, the provincial into the national, the 
national into the imperial, and the imperial 
into the world market. 

We have not by any means exhausted the 
results of the Industrial Revolution, and most 
of our social problems may be traced directly 
or indirectly to this source. Its most general 
effect was to emphasize and exaggerate the 


tendency towards specialization. Not only 
have most workers now but one kind of work; 
that work becomes a smaller and smaller part 
of increasingly complex industrial processes; 
and concentration thereon makes it more and 
more difficult for the worker to turn to other 
labour, if his employment fails. The special- 
ist's lack of all-round capacity is natural and 
notorious. Hence most serious results follow 
the slightest dislocation of national economy. 
This specialization has also important psycho- 
logical effects. A farmer, with his varied out- 
door occupations, feels little craving for relief 
and relaxation. The factory hand, with his 
attention riveted for hours at a stretch on the 
wearisome iteration of machinery, requires 
recreation and distraction: naturally he is a 
prey to unwholesome stimulants, such as 
drink, betting, or the yellow press. The more 
educated and morally restrained, however, 
seek intellectual stimulus, and the modern 
popular demand for culture arises largely 
from the need of something to relieve the 
grey monotony of industrial labour. 

So, too, the problems of poverty, local gov- 


ernment, and sanitation have been created or 
intensified by the Industrial Revolution. It 
made capitalists of the few and wage-earners 
of the many; and the tendency of wages 
towards a minimum and of hours of labour 
towards a maximum has only been counter- 
acted by painful organization among the 
workers, and later on by legislation extorted 
by their votes. Neither the Evangelical nor 
the Oxford movement proved any prophy- 
lactic against the immorality of commercial 
and industrial creeds. While those two re- 
ligious movements were at their height, new 
centres of industrial population were allowed 
to grow up without the least regard for health 
or decency. Under the influence of laissez- 
faire philosophy, each wretched slum-dweller 
was supposed to be capable, after his ten or 
twelve hours in the factory, of looking after 
his own and his children's education, his 
main-drainage, his risks from infection, and 
the purity of his food and his water-supply. 
The old system of local government was 
utterly inadequate and ill adapted to the new 
conditions; and the social and physical en- 


vironment of the working classes was a dis- 
grace to civilization pending the reconstruc- 
tion of society, still incomplete, which the 
Industrial Revolution imposed upon the 
country in the nineteenth century. 



The British realms beyond the seas have 
little history before the battle of Waterloo, 
a date at which the Englishman's historical 
education has commonly come to an end; 
and if by chance it has gone any further, it 
has probably been confined to purely domestic 
events or to foreign episodes of such ephemeral 
interest as the Crimean War. It may be well, 
therefore, to pass lightly over these matters 
in order to sketch in brief outline the develop- 
ment of the empire and the problems which 
it involves. European afl'airs, in fact, played 
a very subordinate part in English history 
after 1815; so far as England was concerned, 


it was a period of excursions and alarms rather 
than actual hostilities; and the fortunes 
of English-speaking communities were not 
greatly affected by the revolutions and wars 
which made and marred continental nations, 
a circumstance which explains, if it does 
not excuse, the almost total ignorance of 
European history displayed in British 

The interventions of Britain in continental 
politics were generally on behalf of the prin- 
ciples of nationality and seK-government. 
Under the influence of Castlereagh and Can- 
ning the British government gradually broke 
away from the Holy Alliance formed to sup- 
press all protests against the settlement 
reached after Napoleon's fall; and Britain in- 
terposed with decisive effect at the battle of 
Navarino in 1827, which secured the independ- 
ence of Greece from Turkey. More diplo- 
matic intervention assisted the South Ameri- 
can colonies to assert their independence of 
the Spanish mother-country; and British vol- 
unteers helped the Liberal cause in Spain and 
Portugal against reactionary monarchs. Bel- 


gium was countenanced in its successful revo- 
lution against the House of Orange, and 
Italian states in their revolts against native 
and foreign despots; the expulsion of the 
Hapsburgs and Bourbons from Italy, and its 
unification on a nationalist basis, owed some- 
thing to British diplomacy, which supported 
Cavour, and to British volunteers who fought 
for Garibaldi. The attitude of Britain towards 
the Balkan nationalities, which were endeav- 
ouring to throw off the Turkish yoke, was 
more dubious; while Gladstone denounced 
Turkish atrocities, Disraeli strengthened Tur- 
key's hands. Yet England would have been 
as enthusiastic for a liberated and united 
Balkan power as it had been for a united Italy 
but for the claims of a rival liberator, Russia. 
Russia was the bugbear of two generations 
of Englishmen; and classical scholars, who in- 
terpreted modern politics by the light of an- 
cient Greece, saw in the absorption of Athens 
by Macedon a convincing demonstration of 
the fate which the modern barbarian of the 
north was to inflict upon the British heirs of 
Hellas. India was the real source of this nerv- 


ousness. British dominion, after further wars 
with the Mahrattas, the Sikhs, and the Gur- 
khas, had extended up to the frontiers of 
Afghanistan; but there was always the fear 
lest another sword should take away dominion 
won by the British, and in British eyes it was 
an offence that any other power should expand 
in Asia. The Russian and British spheres of 
influence advanced till they met in Kabul; 
and for fifty years the two powers contested, 
by more or less diplomatic methods, the 
control of the Amir of Afghanistan. Turkey 
flanked the overland route to India; and hence 
the protection of Turkey ^against Russia be- 
came a cardinal point in British foreign policy. 
On behalf of Turkey's integrity Great Britain 
fought, in alliance with France and Sardinia, 
the futile Crimean War of 1854-1856, and 
nearly went to war in 1877. 

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 
introduced a fresh complication. Relations 
between England and France had since 
Waterloo been friendly, on the whole; but 
France had traditional interests in Egypt, 
which were strengthened by the fact that a 


French engineer had constructed the Suez 
Canal, and by French colonies in the Far 
East, to which the canal was the shortest 
route. Rivalry with England for the control 
of Egypt followed. The Dual Control, which 
w^as established in 1876, was terminated by 
the refusal of France to assist in the suppres- 
sion of Egyptian revolts in 1882; and Great 
Britain was left in sole but informal possession 
of powder in Egypt, with the responsibility for 
its defence against the Mahdi (1884-1885) 
and for the re-conquest of the Sudan (1896- 
1898), which is now under the joint Egyptian 
and British flags. 

Meanwhile, British expansion to the east 
of India, the Burmese wars, and annexation 
of Burma (1885) brought the empire into a 
contact with French influence in Siam similar 
to its contact with Russian in Afghanistan. 
Community of interests in the Far East, as 
w^ell as the need of protection against the 
Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria, and Italy 
produced the entente cordiale between France 
and Russia in 1890. Fortunately, the danger- 
ous questions between them and Great Britain 


were settled by diplomacy, assisted by the 
alliance between Great Britain and Japan. 
The British and Russian spheres of action on 
the north-west, and the British and French 
spheres to the east, of India were deHmited; 
southern Persia, the Persian Gulf, and the 
Malay Peninsula were left to British vigilance 
and penetration, northern Persia to Russian, 
and eastern Siam to French. Freed from 
these causes of friction, Great Britain, Russia, 
and France exert a restraining influence on the 
predominant partner in the Triple Alliance. 

The development of a vast dominion in 
India has created for the British government 
problems, of which the great Indian mutiny of 
1857 was merely one illustration. No power 
has succeeded in permanently governing sub- 
ject races by despotic authority; in North and 
South America the natives have so dwindled 
in numbers as to leave the conquerors indis- 
putably supreme; in Europe and elsewhere 
in former times the subject races fitted 
themselves for self-government, and then 
absorbed their conquerors. The racial and 
religious gulf forbids a similar solution of the 


Indian question, while the abandonment of 
her task by Great Britain would leave India 
a prey to anarchy. The difficulties of despotic 
rule were mitigated in the past by the utter 
absence of any common sentiments and ideas 
among the many races, religions, and castes 
which constituted India; and a Machiavellian 
perpetuation of these divisions might have 
eased the labours of its governors. But a 
government suffers for its virtues, and the 
steady efforts of Great Britain to civilize and 
educate its Eastern subjects have tended to 
destroy the divisions which made common 
action, common aspirations, public opinion 
and self-government impossible in India. The 
missionary, the engineer, the doctor, the law- 
yer, and the political reformer have all helped 
to remove the bars of caste a.nd race by con- 
verting Brahmans, Mohammedans, Parsees 
to a common Christianity or by undermining 
their attachment to their particular distinc- 
tions. They have built railways and canals, 
which made communications and contact un- 
avoidable; they have imposed common mea- 
sures of health, common legal principles, and 


a common education in English culture and 
methods of administration. The result has 
been to foster a consciousness of nationality, 
the growth of a public opinion, and a demand 
for a greater share in the management of 
affairs. The more efficient a despotism, the 
more certain is its supersession; and the 
problem for the Indian government is how to 
adjust and adapt the political emancipation 
of the natives of India to the slow growth of 
their education and sense of moral responsi- 
bility. At present, caste and racial and 
religious differences, especially between Mo- 
hammedans and Hindus, though weakening, 
are powerful disintegrants; not one per cent 
of the population can read or write; and the 
existence of hundreds of native states impedes 
the progress of national agitation. 

A somewhat similar problem confronts 
British administration in Egypt, where the 
difficulty of dealing with the agitation for 
national self-government is complicated by 
the fact that technically the British agent and 
consul-general is merely the informal adviser 
of the khedive, who is himself the viceroy of 


the Sultan of Turkey. Ultimately the same 
sort of dilemma will have to be faced in other 
parts of Africa under British rule — British 
East Africa and Uganda, the Nigerian protec- 
torates and neighbouring districts, Rhodesia 
and British Central Africa — as well as in the 
Malay States, Hong Kong, and the West 
Indies. There are great differences of opinion 
among the white citizens of the empire with 
regard to the treatment of their coloured 
fellow-subjects. Australia and some provinces 
of the South African Union would exclude 
Indian immigrants altogether; and white 
minorities have an invincible repugnance to 
allowing black majorities to exercise a vote, 
except under stringent precautions against its 
effect. We have, indeed, improved upon the 
Greeks, who regarded all other races as out- 
side the scope of Greek morality; but we do 
not yet extend to coloured races the same 
consideration that we do to white men. 

So far as the white population of the empire 
is concerned, the problem of self-government 
was solved in the nineteenth century by pro- 
cedure common to all the great dominions of 


the crown, thougli the emancipation, which 
had cost the mother-country centuries of con- 
flict, was secured by many colonies in less than 
fifty years. Three normal stages marked their 
progress, and Canada led the way in each. 
The first was the acquisition of representative 
government — that is to say, of a legislature 
consisting generally of two Houses, one of 
which was popularly elected but had Httle 
control over the executive; the second was the 
acquisition of responsible government — that 
is to say, of an executive responsible to the 
popular local legislature instead of to the home 
Colonial Office; and the third was federation. 
Canada had possessed the first degree of self- 
government ever since 1791 (see p. 169), and 
was rapidly outgrowing it. Australia, how- 
ever, did not pass out of the crown colony 
stage, in which affairs are controlled by a 
governor, with or without the assistance of a 
nominated legislative council, until 1842, 
when elected members were added to the 
council of New South Wales, and it was 
given the power of the purse. This develop- 
ment was due to the exodus of the surplus 


population, created by the Industrial Revo- 
lution, from Great Britain, which began soon 
after 1820, and affected Canada, Australia, 
New Zealand, and South Africa. Various 
companies and associations were founded 
under the influence of Lord Durham, Edward 
Gibbon Wakefield, and others, for the purpose 
of settling labourers in these lands. Between 
1820 and 1830 several settlements were es- 
tablished in Western Australia, in 1836 South 
Australia was colonized, and gradually Vic- 
toria, Queensland, and Tasmania were organ- 
ized as independent colonies out of offshoots 
from the parent New South Wales. Each in 
turn received a representative assembly, and 
developed individual characteristics. 

Cape Colony followed on similar lines, 
variegated by the presence of a rival Euro- 
pean race, the Dutch. Slowly, in the genera- 
tion which succeeded the British conquest, 
they accumulated grievances against their 
rulers. English was made the sole official 
language; Dutch magistrates were superseded 
by English commissioners; slavery was abol- 
ished, with inadequate compensation to the 


owners; little support was given them in their 
wars with the natives, which the home govern- 
ment and the missionaries, more interested 
in the woes of negroes in South Africa than 
in those of children in British mines and 
factories, attributed to Dutch brutality; and 
a Hottentot police was actually established. 
In 1837 the more determined of the Dutch 
"trekked" north and east to found republics 
in Natal, the Orange River Free State, and 
the Transvaal. Purged of these discontented 
elements, the Cape was given representative 
government in 1853, and Natal, which had 
been annexed in 1844, received a similar 
constitution in 1856. 

Meanwhile, Canada had advanced through 
constitutional struggles and open rebellion 
to the second stage. It had received its 
baptism of fire during the war (1812-1814) 
between Great Britain and the United States, 
when French and British Canadians fought 
side by side against a common enemy. But 
both provinces soon experienced difficulties 
similar to those between the Stuarts and their 
parliaments; their legislative assembhes had 


no control over their executive governments, 
and in 1837 Papineau's rebellion broke out in 
Lower, and Mackenzie's in Upper, Canada. 
Lord Durham was sent out to investigate 
the causes of discontent, and his report 
marks an epoch in colonial history. The idea 
that the American War of Independence had 
taught the mother-country the necessity of 
granting complete self-government to her 
colonies is a persistent misconception; and 
hitherto no British colony had received a 
fuller measure of self-government than had 
been enjoyed by the American colonies before 
their Declaration of Independence. The 
grant of this responsible self-government was 
one of the two principal recommendations of 
Lord Durham's report. The other was the 
union of the two provinces, which, it was 
hoped, would give the British a majority 
over the French. This recommendation, 
which ultimately proved unworkable, was 
carried out at once; the other, w^hich has 
been the saving of the empire, was left for 
Lord Elgin to elaborate. He made it a prin- 
ciple to choose as ministers only those poli- 


ticians who possessed the confidence of the 
popular assembly, and his example, followed 
by his successors, crystallized into a funda- 
mental maxim of British colonial government. 
It was extended to Nova Scotia and New 
Brunswick in 1848, and to Newfoundland 
(which had in 1832 received a legislative 
assembly) in 1855. 

To Lord John Russell, who was prime 
minister from 1846 to 1851, to his colonial 
secretary, the third Earl Grey, and to Lords 
Aberdeen and Palmerston, who succeeded as 
premiers in 1852 and 1855, belongs the credit 
of having conferred full rights of self-govern- 
ment on most of the empire's oversea domin- 
ions. Australia, where the discovery of gold 
in 1851 added enormously to her populatioii, 
soon followed in Canada's wake, and by 18(56 
every Australian colony, with the excepti6p 
of Western Australia, had, with the consent 
of the Imperial parliament, worked out a 
constitution for itself, comprising two legis- 
lative chambers and a responsible cabinet. 
New Zealand, which had begun to be sparsely 
settled between 1820 and 1840, and had been 


annexed in the latter year, received in 1852 
from the Imperial parliament a Constitution 
Act, which left it to Sir George Grey, the 
Governor, to work out in practice the responsi- 
bility of ministers to the legislature. Other 
colonies were slower in their constitutional 
development; Cape Colony was not granted a 
responsible administration till 1872; Western 
Australia, which had continued to receive 
convicts after their transportation to other 
Australian colonies had been successfully 
resisted, did not receive complete self-govern- 
ment till 1890, and Natal not until 1893. 

The latest British colonies to receive this 
livery of the empire were the Transvaal and 
the Orange River colonies. A chequered 
existence had been their fate since their 
founders had trekked north in 1837. The 
Orange River Free State had been annexed 
by Britain in 1848, had rebelled, and been 
granted independence again in 1854. The 
Transvaal had been annexed in 1877, had 
rebelled, and had been granted almost com- 
plete independence again after Majuba in 
1881. The Orange Free State, relieved of 


the diamond fields which belonged to it in the 
neighbourhood of Kimberley in 1870, pur- 
sued the even tenor of its way; but the gold 
mines discovered in the Transvaal were not so 
near its borders, and gave rise to more pro- 
longed dissensions. Crowds of cosmopolitan 
adventurers, as lawless as those who disturbed 
the peace in Victoria or California, flocked to 
the Rand. They were not of the stuff of 
which Dutch burghers were made, and the 
franchise was denied them by a government 
which did not hesitate to profit from their 
labours. The Jameson Raid, a hasty attempt 
to use their wrongs to overthrow President 
Kruger's government in 1895, "upset the 
apple-cart" of Cecil Rhodes, the prime minis- 
ter of the Cape, who had added Rhodesia to 
the empire and was planning, with moderate 
Dutch support, to federate South Africa. 
Kruger hardened his heart against the Uit- 
landers, and armed himself to resist the argu- 
ments of the British government on their 
behalf. Both sides underestimated the deter- 
mination and resources of the other. But 
Kruger was more ignorant, if not more obsti- 


nate, than Mr. Chamberlain; and his ultima- 
tum of October 1899 precipitated a war which 
lasted two years and a half, and cost the two 
republics their independence. The Transvaal 
was given, and the Orange River Colony was 
promised, representative government by the 
Conservatives; but the Liberals, who came 
into power at the end of 1905, excused them 
this apprenticeship, and granted them full 
responsible government in 1906-1907. 

British colonies have tried a series of use- 
ful experiments with the power thus allotted 
them of managing their own affairs, and have 
contributed more to the science of politics 
than all the arm-chair philosophers from 
Aristotle downwards; and an examination 
in their results would be a valuable test for 
aspiring politicians and civil servants. The 
Canadian provinces, with two exceptions, 
dispense with a second chamber; elsewhere 
in the empire, second chambers are universal, 
but nowhere outside the United Kingdom 
hereditary. Their members are either nomi- 
nated by the prime minister for life, as in the 
Dominion of Canada, or for a term of years. 


which is fixed at seven in New Zealand; or 
they are popularly elected, sometimes on a 
different property qualification from the 
Lower House, sometimes for a different period, 
sometimes by a different constituency. In 
the Commonwealth of Austraha they are 
chosen by each state voting as a whole, and 
this method, by which a big majority in one 
locality outweighs several small majorities 
in others, has sometimes resulted in making 
the Upper House more radical and socialistic 
than the Lower; the system of nomination 
occasionally has in Canada a result equally 
strange to English ideas, for the present 
Conservative majority in the House of Com- 
mons is confronted with a hostile Liberal 
majority in the Upper House, placed there by 
Sir Wilfrid Laurier during his long tenure of 
office. The most effective provision against 
deadlocks between the two Houses is one in 
the constitution of the Australian Common- 
wealth, by which, if they cannot agree, both 
are dissolved. 

Other contrasts are more bewildering than 
instructive. In Canada the movement for 


women's suffrage has made little headway, 
and ev^n less in South Africa; but at the Anti- 
podes women share with men the privilege of 
adult suffrage in New Zealand, in the Com- 
monwealth of Australia, and in every one of 
its component states; an advocate of the 
cause would perhaps explain the contrast by 
the presence of unprogressive French in Can- 
ada, and of unprogressive Dutch in South 
Africa. Certainly, the all-British dominions 
have been more advanced in their political 
experiments than those in which the flighty 
Anglo-Saxon has been tempered by more 
stohd elements; and the pendulum swings 
little more in French Canada than it does 
in Celtic Ireland. In New Zealand old age 
pensions were in force long before they were 
introduced into the mother-country; and 
compulsory arbitration in industrial disputes, 
payment of M.P.'s, and powers of local option 
and prohibition have been for years in oper- 
ation. Both the Dominion and the Common- 
wealth levy taxes on land far exceeding those 
imposed by the British budget of 1909. Aus- 
tralia is, in addition, trying a socialistic labour 


ministry and compulsory military training. It 
has also tried the more serious experiment of 
developing a standard of comfort among its 
proletariate before peopling the country; and 
is consequently forced to exclude by legisla- 
tion all sorts of cheap labour, which might 
develop its industries but would certainly 
lower its level of wages. It believes in high 
protection, but takes care by socialistic legis- 
lation that high wages shall more than counter- 
balance high prices; protection is to it merely 
the form of state socialism which primarily 
benefits the employer. It has also national- 
ized its railways and denationalized all 
churches and religious instruction in public 
schools. There is, indeed, no state church in 
the empire outside Great Britain. But the 
most significant, perhaps, of Antipodean no- 
tions is the doctrine, inculcated in the Queens- 
land elementary schools, of the sanctity of 
state property. 

Finally, the colonies have made momentous 
experiments in federation. New Zealand's 
was the earliest and the briefest; after a few 
years' experience of provincial governments 


between 1852 and 1870, it reduced its pro- 
vincial parliaments to the level of county 
councils, and adopted a unitary constitution. 
In Canada, on the other hand, the union of 
the Upper and Lower Provinces proved un- 
workable owing to racial differences; and in 
1867 the federation called the Dominion of 
Canada was formed by agreement between 
Upper and Lower Canada (henceforth called 
Ontario and Quebec), New Brunswick, and 
Nova Scotia. Prince Edward Island and 
British Columbia joined soon afterwards; and 
fresh provinces have since been created out of 
the Hudson Bay and North-west Territories; 
Newfoundland alone has stood aloof. Con- 
siderable powers are allotted to the provinces, 
including education; but the distinguishing 
feature of this federation is that all powers 
not definitely assigned by the Dominion Act 
to the provinces belong to the Dominion. 
This is in sharp contrast to the United States, 
where each individual state is the sovereign 
body, and the Federal government only 
possesses such powers as the states have 
delegated to it by the constitution. 


In this respect the Austrahan federation 
called the Commonwealth, which was formed 
in 1900, resembles the United States rather 
than Canada. The circumstance that each 
Australian colony grew up round a seaport, 
having little or no overland connexion with 
other Australian colonies, kept them long 
apart; and the commercial interests centred 
in these ports are still centrifugal rather than 
centripetal in sentiment. Hence powers, not 
specifically assigned to the Federal govern- 
ment, remain in the hands of the individual 
states; the Labour party, however, inclines 
towards a centralizing policy, and the general 
trend seems to be in that direction. It will 
probably be strengthened by the construction 
of transcontinental railways and by a further 
growth of the nationalist feeling of Australia, 
which is already marked. 

The Union of South Africa, formed in 1909, 
soon after the Boer colonies had received self- 
government, went almost as far towards unifi- 
cation as New Zealand, and became a unitary 
state rather than a federation. The greater 
expense of maintaining several local parlia- 


ments as well as a central legislature, and the 
dijfficulty of apportioning their powers, deter- 
mined South African statesmen to sweep 
away the old legislatures altogether, and to 
establish a united parliament which meets at 
Cape Town, a single executive which has its 
offices at Pretoria, and a judicature which is 
located at Bloemfontein. Thus almost every 
variety of Union and Home Rule exists 
within the empire, and arguments from anal- 
ogy are provided for both the British political 

Two extremes have been, and must be, 
avoided. History has falsified the impression 
prevalent in the middle of the nineteenth 
century that the colonies would sooner or 
later follow the example of the United States, 
and sever their connexion with the mother- 
country. It has no less clearly demonstrated 
the impossibility of maintaining a centralized 
government of the empire in Downing Street. 
The union or federation of Canada, Australia, 
New Zealand, and South Africa has strength- 
ened the claims of each of those imperial 
realms to be considered a nation, with full 


rights and powers of self-governnient; and it 
remains to be seen whether the federating proc- 
ess can be carried to a higher level, and im- 
perial sentiment crystallized in Imperial 
Federation. Imperial Conferences have be- 
come regular, but we may not call them coun- 
cils; no majority in them has power to bind a 
minority, and no conference can bind the 
mother-country or a single dominion of the 
crown. As an educational body the Imperial 
Conference is excellent; but no one would 
venture to give powers of taxation or of mak- 
ing war and peace to a conclave in which 
Great Britain, with its forty-four millions of 
people and the navy and army it supports, has 
no more votes than Newfoundland, with its 
quarter of a million of inhabitants and im- 
munity from imperial burdens. 

Education is, however, at the root of all 
political systems. Where the mass of the 
people know nothing of politics, a despotism 
is essential; where only the few are politically 
educated, there needs must be an aristocracy. 
Great Britain lost its American colonies 
largely through ignorance; and no imperial 


organization could arise among a group of 
states ignorant of each other's needs, resources, 
and aspirations. The Imperial Conference is 
not to be judged by its meagre tangible re- 
sults; if it has led British politicians to appre- 
ciate the varying character and depth of 
national feeling in the Dominions, and poli- 
ticians oversea to appreciate the delicacies of 
the European diplomatic situation, the de- 
pendence of every part of the empire upon 
sea-power, and the complexities of an Imperial 
government which has also to consider the 
interests of hundreds of millions of subjects 
in India, in tropical Africa, in the West Indies, 
and in the Pacific, the Conference will have 
helped to foster the intellectual conditions 
which must underlie any attempt at an 
imperial superstructure. 

For the halcyon days of peace, prosperity, 
and progress can hardly be assumed as yet, 
and not even the most distant and self-con- 
tained Dominions can afford to ignore the 
menace of blood and iron. No power, indeed, 
is likely to find the thousand millions or so 
which it would cost to conquer and hold 


Canada, Australia, or South Africa; but a 
lucky raid on their commerce or some un- 
defended port might cost many millions by 
way of ransom. A slackening birth-rate is, 
moreover, a reminder that empires in the past, 
like that of Rome, have civilized themselves 
out of existence in the competition with races 
which bred with primitive vigour, and had no 
costly standards of comfort. There are such 
races to-day; the slumbering East has wak- 
ened, and the tide which flowed for four cen- 
turies from West to East is on the turn. The 
victory of Japan over Russia was an event 
beside which the great Boer War sinks into 
insignificance. Asiatics, relieved by the Pax 
Britannica from mutual destruction, are eating 
the whites out of the islands of the Pacific and 
Indian Oceans, and threatening South Africa, 
Australia, and the western shores of America. 
No armaments and no treaties of arbitration 
can ward off their economic competition; and 
it is not certain that their myriads, armed with 
Western morality and methods of warfare, 
will be always content to refrain from turn- 
ing against Europe the means of expansion 


which Europe has used with so much success 
against them. The British Empire will need 
all the wisdom it can command, if it is to hold 
its own in the parliament of reason or the 
arbitrament of war. 



The modern national state is the most 
powerful political organism ever known, 
because it is the conscious or unconscious 
agency of a people's will. Government is no 
longer in England the instrument of a family 
or a class; and the only real check upon its 
power is the circumstance that in some mat- 
ters it acts as the executive committee of one 
party and is legitimately resisted by the 
other. Were there no parties, the govern- 
ment would be a popular despotism absolutely 
uncontrolled. Theoretically it is omnicompe- 
tent; parliament — or, to use more technical 
phraseology, the Crown in Parliament — can 
make anything law that it chooses; and no 


one has a legal right to resist, or authority to 
pronounce what parliament has done to be un- 
constitutional. No Act of Parliament can be 
illegal or unconstitutional, because there are no 
fundamental laws and no written constitution 
in this country; and when people loosely speak 
of an Act being unconstitutional, all that 
they mean is that they do not agree with it. 
Other countries, like the United States, have 
drawn up a written constitution and estab- 
lished a Supreme Court of Judicature to guard 
it; and if the American legislature violates this 
constitution by any Act, the Supreme Court 
may declare that Act unconstitutional, in 
which case it is void. But there is no such limi- 
tation in England upon the sovereignty of 

This sovereignty has been gradually 
evolved. At first it was royal and personal, 
but not parliamentary or representative; and 
medieval kings had to struggle with the rival 
claims of the barons and the church. By call- 
ing in the assistance of the people assembled 
and represented in parliament, the monarchy 
triumphed over both the barons and the 


church; but when, in the seventeenth century, 
the two partners to this victory quarrelled 
over the spoils, parliament and not the crown 
established its claim to be the real representa- 
tive of the state; and in the cases of Strafford, 
Danby, and others it even asserted that loy- 
alty to the king might be treason to the state. 
The church, vanquished at the Reformation, 
dropped more and more out of the struggle 
for sovereignty, because, while the state grew 
more comprehensive, the church grew more 
exclusive. It was not that, after 1662, it 
seriously narrowed its formulas or doctrines, 
but it failed to enlarge them, and a larger and 
larger proportion of Englishmen thus found 
themselves outside its pale. The state, on the 
other hand, embraced an ever-widening circle 
of dissent; and by degrees Protestant Non- 
conformists, Roman Catholics, Quakers, Jews, 
Atheists, Mohammedans, believers, misbe- 
lievers, and unbelievers of all sorts, were ad- 
mitted to the fullest rights of citizenship. State 
and church ceased to correspond; one became 
the whole, the other only a part, and there 
could be no serious rivalry between the two» 


The state had to contend, however, with 
more subtle and serious attacks. This great 
Leviathan, as Hobbes called it, was not at 
first a popular institution; and it frightened 
many people. The American colonists, for in- 
stance, thought that its absolute sovereignty 
was too dangerous a thing to be left loose, and 
they put sovereignty under a triple lock and 
key, giving one to the judicature, one to the 
legislature, and a third to the executive. 
Only by the co-operation of these three keep- 
ers can the American people loose their sover- 
eignty and use it to amend their constitution; 
and so jealously is sovereignty confined that 
anarchy often seems to reign in its stead. 
There was, indeed, some excuse for distrusting 
a sovereignty claimed by George III and the 
unreformed British parliament; and it was 
natural enough that people should deny its 
necessity and set up in its place Declara- 
tions of the Rights of Man. Sovereignty of 
Hobbes's type was a somewhat novel concep- 
tion; men had not grasped its possibilities as 
an engine of popular will, because they were 
only familiar with its exploitation by kings 


and oligarchs; and so closely did they identify 
the thing with its abuses that they preferred 
to do without it altogether, or at least to con- 
fine it to the narrowest possible limits. Gov- 
ernment and the people were antagonistic: 
the less government there was, the less harm 
would be done to the people, and so a general 
body of individualistic, laissez-faire theory 
developed, which was expressed in various 
Declarations of the Rights of Man, and set 
up against the "paternal despotism" of the 
eighteenth century. 

These Rights of Man helped to produce 
alike the anarchy of the first French Revolu- 
tion and the remedial despotism of the Jaco- 
bins and their successor Napoleon; and the 
oscillation between under-government and 
over-government, between individualism and 
socialism has continued to this day. Each 
coincides with obvious human interests: the 
blessed in possession prefer a policy of laissez 
faire; they are all for Liberty and Property, 
enjoj^ng sufficient means for doing whatso- 
ever they like with what they are pleased to 
call their own. But those who have little to 


call their own, and mucli that they would like, 
prefer strong government if they can control 
it; and the strength of government has 
steadily grown with popular control. This is 
due to more than a predatory instinct; it is 
natural, and excusable enough, that people 
should be reluctant to maintain what is no 
affair of theirs; but even staunch Conserva- 
tives have been known to pay Radical taxes 
with comparative cheerfulness when their 
party has returned to power. 

Government was gradually made the affair 
of the people by the series of Reform Acts 
extending from 1832 to 1885; and it is no 
mere accident that this half-century also 
witnessed the political emancipation of the 
British colonies. Nor must we forget the 
Acts beginning with the repeal of the Test and 
Corporation Acts (1828) and Roman Catholic 
Emancipation (1829), which extended political 
rights to men of all religious persuasions. 
These and the Franchise Acts made the House 
of Commons infinitely more representative 
than it had been before, and gave it its con- 
clusive superiority over the House of Lords. 


Not that the Peers represent no one but them- 
selves; had that been true, the House of Lords 
would have disappeared long ago. In reality 
it came to embody a fairly complete repre- 
sentation of the Conservative party; and as 
a party does not need two legislative organs, 
the House of Lords retired whenever the Con- 
servatives controlled the House of Commons, 
and only resumed its proper functions when 
the Liberals had a majority. Hence its 
most indefensible characteristic as a Second 
Chamber became its strongest practical bul- 
wark; for it enlisted the support of many 
who had no particular views about Second 
Chambers in the abstract, but were keenly 
interested in the predominance of their 

The restraint thus imposed by the House 
of Lords upon popular government checked 
the development of its power and the exten- 
sion of its activity, which would naturally 
have followed upon the acquisition by the 
people of control over the House of Commons 
and indirectly over the Cabinet. Other causes 
co-operated to induce delay. The most 


powerful was lack of popular education; con- 
stitutional privileges are of no value to people 
who do not understand how they may be used, 
or are so unimaginative and ill-disciplined as 
to prefer such immediate and tangible rewards 
as a half-crown for their vote, a donation to 
their football club or local charity, or a gra- 
cious word from an interested lady, to their 
distant and infinitesimal share in the direction 
of national government. This participation 
is, in fact, so minute to the individual voter 
and so intangible in its operation, that a high 
degree of education is required to appreciate 
its value; and the Education Acts of 1870 and 
1889 were indispensable preliminaries to any- 
thing like a real democracy. A democracy 
really educated in politics will express views 
strange to our ears with an emphasis of which 
even yet we have little conception. 

Other obstacles to the overthrow of the rule 
of laissez faire were the vested interests of 
over-mighty manufacturers and landlords in 
the maintenance of that anarchy which is the 
logical extreme of Liberty and Property; and 
such elementary measures of humanity as 


the Factory Acts were long resisted by men 
so humane as Cobden and John Bright as ar- 
bitrary interventions with the natural liberty 
of man to drive bargains with his fellows in 
search of a living wage. There seemed to be 
no idea that economic warfare might be quite 
as degrading as that primitive condition of 
natural war, in which Hobbes said that the 
life of man was "nasty, short, brutish and 
mean," and that it might as urgently require 
a similar sovereign remedy. The repugnance 
to such a remedy was reinforced by crude 
analogies between a perverted Darwinism and 
politics. Darwin's demonstration of evolu- 
tion by means of the struggle for existence in 
the natural world was used to support the 
assumption that a similar struggle among 
civilized men was natural and therefore 
inevitable; and that all attempts to interfere 
with the conflict between the weak and the 
strong, the scrupulous and the unscrupulous, 
were foredoomed to disastrous failure. It 
was forgotten that civilization itself involves 
a more or less conscious repeal of "Nature," 
and that the progress of man depends upon 


the conquest of himself and of his surround- 
ings. In a better sense of the word, the evolu- 
tion of man's self-control and conscience is 
just as "natural" as the gratification of his 
animal instincts. 

The view that each individual should be left 
without further help from the state to cope 
with his environment might be acceptable to 
landlords who had already obtained from par- 
liament hundreds of Inclosure Acts, and to 
manufacturers whose profits were inflated by 
laws making it criminal for workmen to com- 
bine. They might rest from political agitation 
and be thankful for their constitutional gains; 
at any rate they had little to hope from a 
legislature in which working men had votes. 
But the masses, who had just secured the 
franchise, were reluctant to believe that the 
action of the state had lost its virtue at the 
moment when the control of the state came 
within their grasp. The vote seems to have 
been given them under the amiable delusion 
that they would be happy when they got it, as 
if it had any value whatever except as a means 
to an end. Nor is it adequate as a means: it 


is not sufficient for a nation by adult suffrage 
to express its will; that will has also to be 
carried into execution, and it requires a strong 
executive to do so. Hence the reversal of the 
old Liberal attitude towards the royal prerog- 
ative, which may be best dated from 1872, 
when Gladstone abolished the purchase of 
commissions in the army by means of the 
royal prerogative, after the proposed reform 
had been rejected as a bill by the House of 
Lords. No Liberal is likely in the future to 
suggest that "the influence of the crown has 
increased, is increasing, and ought to be 
diminished"; because the prerogative of the 
crown has become the privilege of the people. 
The Franchise Acts had apparently pro- 
vided a solution of the old antithesis of Man 
versus the State by comprehending all men in 
the state; and the great value of those reforms 
was that they tended to eliminate force from 
the sphere of politics. When men could vote, 
there was less reason in rebellion; and the 
antithesis of Man versus the State has almost 
been reduced to one of Woman versus the 
State. But representative government, which 


promised to be ideal when every man, or every 
adult, had a vote, is threatened in various 
quarters. Its operations are too deliberate 
and involved to satisfy impatient spirits, and 
three alternative methods of procedure are 
advocated as improvements upon it. One is 
the "direct action" of working men, by which 
they can speedily obtain their objects through 
a general or partial strike paralyzing the food- 
supply or other national necessities. This 
is obviously a dangerous and double-edged 
weapon, the adoption of which by other sec- 
tions of the community — the Army and Navy, 
for instance, or the medical profession — might 
mean national dissolution. 

Another method is the Referendum, by 
which important decisions adopted by parlia- 
ment would be referred to a direct popular 
vote. This proposal is only logical when 
coupled with the Initiative, by which a direct 
popular vote could compel parliament to pass 
any measure desired by the majority of voters; 
otherwise its object is merely obstructive. 
The third method is the supersession of par- 
liament by the action of the executive. The 


diflSculties which Liberal measures have expe- 
rienced in the House of Lords, and the impos- 
sibiHty of the House of Commons deahng by 
debate with the increasing complexities of 
national business, have encouraged a tendency 
in Liberal governments to entrust to their 
departments decisions which trench upon the 
legislative functions of parliament. The 
trend of hostile opinion is to regard parlia- 
ment as an unnecessary middleman, and to 
advocate in its stead a sort of plebiscitary 
bureaucracy, a constitution under which legis- 
lation drafted by officials would be demanded, 
sanctioned, or rejected by direct popular vote, 
and would be discussed, like the Insurance 
Bill, in informal conferences outside, rather 
than inside, parliament; while administration 
by a vast army of experts would be partially 
controlled by popularly elected ministers; for 
socialists waver between their faith in human 
equality and their trust in the superman. 
Others think that the milder method of 
Devolution, or "Home Rule all round," would 
meet the evils caused by the congestion of 
business, and restore to the Mother of Parlia- 


ments her time-honoured function of govern- 
ing by debate. 

Parhament has already had to delegate 
legislative powers to other bodies than colo- 
nial legislatures; and county councils, borough 
councils, district councils, and parish councils 
share with it in various degrees the task of 
legislating for the country. They can, of 
course, only legislate, as they can only ad- 
minister, within the limits imposed by Act of 
Parliament; but their development, like the 
multiplication of central administrative de- 
partments, indicates the latest, but not the 
final, stages in the growth and specialization 
of English government. A century and a 
half ago two Secretaries of State were all 
that Great Britain required; now there are 
haK-a-dozen, and a dozen other departments 
have been added. Among them are the 
Local Government Board, the Board of 
Education, the Board of Trade, the Board 
of Agriculture, while many sub-departments 
such as the Public Health Department of the 
Local Government Board, the Bankruptcy 
Department of the Board of Trade, and the 


Factory Department of the Home Office, have 
more work to do than originally had a Secre- 
tary of State. It is probable, moreover, that 
departments will multiply and subdivide at 
an ever-increasing rate. 

All this, however, is merely machinery pro- 
vided to give effect to public opinion, which 
determines the use to which it shall be put. 
But its very provision indicates that England 
expects the state to-day to do more and more 
extensive duty for the individual. For one 
thing the state has largely taken the place 
of the church as the organ of the collective 
conscience of the community. It can hardly 
be said that the Anglican church has an 
articulate conscience apart from questions 
of canon law and ecclesiastical property; 
and other churches are, as bodies, no better 
provided with creeds of social morality. The 
Eighth Commandment is never applied to 
such genteel delinquencies as making a false 
return of income, or defrauding a railway com- 
pany or the customs; but is reserved for the 
grosser offences which no member of the con- 
gregation is likely to have committed; and it 


is left to the state to provide by warning and 
penalty against neglect of one's duty to one's 
neighbour when one's neighbour is not one in- 
dividual but the sum of all. It was not by any 
ecclesiastical agitation that some humanity 
was introduced into the criminal code in the 
third decade of the nineteenth century; and 
the protest against the blind cruelty of eco- 
nomic laissez faire was made by Sadler, 
Shaftesbury, Ruskin, and Carlyle rather than 
by any church. Their writings and speeches 
awoke a conscience in the state, which began 
to insist by means of legislation upon hu- 
maner hours and conditions of labour, upon 
decent sanitation, upon a standard of public 
education, and upon provision being made 
against fraudulent dealings with more help- 
less fellow-men. 

This public conscience has inevitably 
proved expensive, and the expense has had to 
be borne either by the state or by the individ- 
ual. Now, it might have been possible, when 
the expense of these new standards of public 
health and comfort began to be incurred, to 
provide by an heroic effort of socialism for a 


perpetuation of the individualistic basis of 
social duty. That is to say, if the state had 
guaranteed to every individual an income 
which would enable him to bear his share of 
this expense, it might also have imposed upon 
him the duty of meeting it, of paying fees for 
the education of his children, for hospital 
treatment, for medical inspection, and so 
forth. But that effort was not, and perhaps 
could not, in the existing condition of public 
opinion, be made; and the state has therefore 
got into the habit of providing and paying for 
all these things itself. When the majority 
of male adults earn twenty shillings or less a 
week, and possess a vote, there would be no 
raising of standards at all, if they had to pay 
the cost. Hence the state has been com- 
pelled step by step to meet the expense of 
burdens imposed by its conscience. Free 
education has therefore followed compulsory 
education; the demands of sanitary inspectors 
and medical officers of health have led to free 
medical inspection, medical treatment, the 
feeding of necessitous school children, and 
other piecemeal socialism; and, ignoring the 


historical causes of this development, we are 
embarked on a wordy warfare of socialists and 
individualists as to the abstract merits of 
antagonistic theories. 

It is mainly a battle of phrases, in which 
few pause to examine what their opponents or 
they themselves mean by the epithets they 
employ. In the sense in which the individual- 
ist uses the term socialist, there are hardly 
any socialists, and in the sense in which the 
socialist uses the term individualist, there are 
practically no individualists. In reality we 
are all both individualists and socialists. It 
is a question of degree and not of dogma; and 
most people are at heart agreed that some 
economic socialism is required in order to 
promote a certain amount of moral and 
intellectual individualism. The defect of so- 
called economic individualism is that it re- 
duces the mass of workers to one dead level 
of common poverty, in which wages, instead 
of increasing like capital, barely keep pace 
with the rise of rent and prices, in which men 
occupy dwellings all alike in the same mean 
streets, pursuing the same routine of labour 


and same trivial round of relaxation, and in 
which there seems no possibihty of securing 
for the indi\ddual adequate opportunities for 
that development of his individuality by 
which alone he can render his best service to 
the community. 

That service is the common end and object 
towards which men of all parties in English 
history have striven through the growth of 
conscious and collective action. A commun- 
ist has maintained that we are all communists 
because we have developed a common army, 
a common navy, and a common national gov- 
ernment, in place of the individualistic forces 
and jurisdictions of feudal barons. We have, 
indeed, nationalized these things and many 
others as well, including the crown, the 
church, the administration of justice, educa- 
tion, highways and byways, posts and tele- 
graphs, woods and forests. Even the House of 
Lords has been constrained to abandon its in- 
dependence by a process akin to that medieval 
'peine forte et dure, by which the obstinate 
individualist was, when accused, compelled to 
surrender his ancient immunity and submit to 


the common law; and this common control, 
which came into being as the nation emerged 
out of its diverse elements in the thirteenth 
and fourteenth centuries, and slowly gathered 
force as it realized its strength under the 
Tudors, has attained fresh momentum in the 
latest ages as the state step by step extended 
to all sorts and conditions of men a share in 
the exercise of its power. 

This is the real English conquest, and it 
forms the chief content of English history. It 
is part of the triumph of man over the forces 
of nature and over himself, and the two have 
gone hand in hand. An English state could 
hardly exist before men had made roads, but 
it could no more exist until they had achieved 
that great victory of civilized government by 
which a minority agrees for the sake of peace 
to submit to the greater number. Steam and 
railways and telegraphs have placed further 
powers in the hands of men; they have con- 
quered the land and the sea and the air; and 
medical science has built up their physique 
and paved the way for empire in tropical 
climes. But while he has conquered nature, 


man has also conquered himself. He has 
tamed his combative instincts; he has reduced 
civil strife to political combats, restrained na- 
tional conflicts by treaties of arbitration, and 
subdued private wars to judicial proceedings; 
it is only in partially civilized countries that 
gentlemen cannot rule their temper or bend 
their honour to the base arbitrament of jus- 
tice. He looks before and after, and forgoes 
the gratification of the present to insure 
against the accidents of the future, though the 
extent to which the community as a whole can 
follow the example of individuals in this re- 
spect remains at the moment a test of its self- 
control and sense of collective responsibility. 
"Whether this growth of power in the individ- 
ual and in the state is a good or an evil thing 
depends on the conscience of those who wield 
it. The power of the over-mighty subject has 
generally been a tyranny; and all power is 
distrusted by old-fashioned Liberals and phil- 
osophic Anarchists, because they have a tra- 
ditional suspicion that it will fall into hostile 
or unscrupulous hands. But the forces of evil 
cannot be overcome by laissezfaire, and power 


is an indispensable weapon of progress, A 
powerless state means a helpless community; 
and anarchy is the worst of all forms of tyr- 
anny, because it is irresponsible, incorrigible, 
and capricious. Weakness, moreover, is the 
parent of panic, and panic brings cruelty in 
its train. So long as the state was weak, it 
was cruel; and the hideous treason-laws of 
Tudor times were due to fear. The weak 
cannot afford to be tolerant any more than 
the poor can afford to be generous. Cecil 
thought that the state could not afford to 
tolerate two forms of religion; to-day it toler- 
ates hundreds, and it laughs at treason be- 
cause it is strong. We are humanitarian, not 
because we are so much better than our an- 
cestors, but because we can afford the luxury 
of dissent and conscientious objections so 
much better than they could. Political liberty 
and religious freedom depend upon the power 
of the state, inspired, controlled, and guided 
by the mind of the community. 

Last of all, through this power man has 
acquired faith, not in miraculous interven- 
tion, but in his capacity to work out his own 


destinies by means of the weapons placed in 
his hands and the dominion put mider his 
feet. He no longer believes that the weakest 
must go to the wall, and the helpless be 
trampled under foot in the march of civiliza- 
tion; nature is no longer a mass of inscrutable, 
iron decrees, but a treasury of forces to be 
tamed and used in the redemption of mankind 
by man; and mankind is no longer a mob of 
blind victims to panic and passion, but a more 
or less orderly host marching on to more or 
less definite goals. The individual, however, 
can do little by himself; he needs the strength 
of union for his herculean tasks; and he has 
found that union in the state. It is not an 
engine of tyranny, but the lever of social 
morality; and the function of English govern- 
ment is not merely to embody the organized 
might and the executive brain of England, 
but also to enforce its collective and co- 
ordinating conscience. 


B.C. 55. Juliua Caesar's first invasion of Britain. 

A.D. 43-4:10. Roman occupation of Britain. 

410-577* Period of Anglo-Saxon colonization and conquest. 

507-664. Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. 

eiT-eSS. Northumbrian supremacy. 

685-8S5. Mercian supremacy. 

80S-839. Ecgberht establishes West Saxon supremacy. 

855. Danes first winter in England. 

878. Peace of Wedmore between Alfred and the Danes. 

»00 (?). Death of Alfred. 

900 (?)-975. Edward the Elder, Athelstan, and Edgar. Reconquest ol 
the Danelaw. 

978-1013. Ethelred the Unready. Return of the Danes. 

1016. Edmund Ironside. 

101&-1035. Canute. 

1043-1066. Edward the Confessor and the growth of Norman influence. 

1066. Harold and the Battle of Hastings. William I. 

1066-1071. The Norman Conquest. Submergence of the Anglo-Saxona. 

1085-1086. Domesday Book. The Salisbury Oath. 

1087-1100. William II. 

1100-1135. Henry I and the beginnings of an administrative system. 
The Exchequer and Curia Regis. 

1135-1154. Stephen and Matilda. The period of baronial independence, 
i. e. anarchy. 

1154-1189. Henbt II restores order, curbs the military power of the 
barons by scutage (1159), the Assize of Arms (1181), and the substitu- 
tion of sworn inquest for the ordeal and trial by battle, and their juris- 
diction by the development of the royal court of justice through assizes 
of Clarendon, Northampton, etc. Teaches the people to rely on their 
judgment. Restrains the sheriffs, and attempts to limit ecclesiastical 
Jurisdiction by the constitutions of Clarendon (1164). Quarrel with 

1189-1199. Richard I. Crusade and wars in France. 

1199-1316. John's tyranny. Loss of Normandy (1204). Quarrel with 
the church and baronage. Tries to retrieve his position by spirited 
foreign poUcy. Defeated at Bouvines (1214) and forced to sign Magna 
Carta (1215). 

i;S10-i;373. Henry III. Beginnings of national government under 
De Burgh. Naval victory (1217). Alien domination of Henry's favour- 
ites provo&es baronial resistance. Growth of native wealth and Influ- 
ence, and of an English party in the Barons' War (1258-1265). Simon 
De Montfort. Townsfolk summoned to Parliament. 

1»7»-1307» Edward I. the first English king since the Norman ConQuest. 


Emergence of the English people, their language, national weapons, 
towns, commerce. The Model Parliament (1275, 1295) . Confirmation 
ol the charters (1297). National resistance to the Papacy, and national 
enterprises against Wales and Scotland. 

ISCW-ISST* Edward II. Tbe relapse of Monarchy. Baronage becoming 
peerage. Thomas of Lancaster. 

l.'Sfi7-1377» Edward III. Growth of nationalism in religion, politics, 
literatm-e, trade, and war. The Commons take the constitutional 
lead abandoned by the peers. Lollardy and hostility to the Papacy. 
Decay of manorial system: emancipation of villeins: growth of In- 
dustry and towns. 

IS'y'J'-lSOO. Richard II. Revolt of the peasants and artisans (13S1). 
Tries to emancipate himself from the control of the peers, and Is 

1399-14:13» Henrt rv and the Lancastrian dynasty. Revolt of the 
Percies (1403). Henry's troubles with over-mighty subjects. 

14:13-14S;3« Henry V seeks escape from domestic troubles m foreign war. 

1415. Battle of Aghicourt. Treaty of Troyes (1420). 

14;3S* Henry VI. Rivalry between Beaufort and Gloucester leads to 
growth of Lancastrian and Yorkist factions, and these with local anarchy 
produce the Wars of the Roses (1455-1485). 

14:61* Edward IV secures the throne, and in 1471 defeats both the Lan- 
castrians and Warwick the King-maker. 

1483. Richard III. 

1485* IHenry VII and the House of Tudor. 

IISY* Organiaation of the Star Chamber to repress disorder and over- 
mighty subjects. Diaz doubles the Cape of Good Hope, 

1492* Columbus discovers West Indies. 

1496-1497. Cabot discovers Newfoundland and Labrador. 

1509. Henry VIII. 
151»-15a9. Wolsey. 

16;S9-1536« The Reformation Parliament. The submission of the Clergy, 

Acts of Annates, Appeals (1532-1533) and Supremacy (1534). 
1536. Suppression of the Monasteries and Pilgrimage for Grace. 
1539* Act of Six Articles. 

154'}'-1553* Edward VI and the Protestant Reformation. 
1549* First Act of Uniformity and Book of Common Prayer. Kett's 

155S* Second Act of Uniformity and Book of Common Prayer. 
1553-1558. Mary and the Roman Catholic reaction. Spanish control 

in England. 
1558. Elizabeth. 

1559* The Elizabethan settlement of religion. 
1560. Elizabeth assists the Scots to expel the French. 
1568-1569. Flight of Mary Queen of Scots into England, and rebellion 

of the northern earls. 

1510. Papal excommumcatlon and deposition of Elizabeth. 
1571. Ridolfl's plot. 

1&7Z* Execution of Norfolk and extinction of English dukedoms. Be- 
ginning of the Dutch Republic. Massacre of St. Bartholomew. 
15TT-1580. Drake sails round the world. 
168T. Execution of Mary Queen of Scots. 
1588. Spanish Armada. 
1599-1601* Conquest of Ireland. 



Massacre of Amboyna. 

1600* Foundation of East India Company. 

1603* James VI of Scotland and I of England. 

160'7. Foundation of Virginia. 

1608. Plantation of Ulster. 

16SO. Sailing of the Mayflower. 

16S3* Re-creation of dtikedoms. 

16S5* Chables I. 

16S8. Petition of Right. 

16S9* First British capture of Quebec. 

16;S9-1640* The "Eleven Years' Tyranny." 

1688-1639* National Covenant. Bishops' war in Scotland. 

1644>* The Long Parliament. 

164^ First Civil War. 

1648. Second Civil War. 

1649* TE£ CoMMOirnrEALTH. Abolition of monarchy and the House of 

1650-1651* Navigation Acts and Dutch War. 
1653* THE Pkotectobate. First Cromwelllan constitution. 
1657* Second Cromwelllan constitution. 
1656* Cromwell's death. 
1660* The Restoration. Charles II. 
166S* The last Act of Uniformity. 

1664* War with the Dutch: conquest of New Netherlands 
106'7* Fall of Clarendon. The Cabal administration. 
1670« Treaty of Dover. 
XWi^t Declaration of Indulgence. 
1673* Danby. The Test Act. 
1678* Titus Gates' Plot. 
1679* Habeas Corpus Act. 
1681* Charles II's triumph over the Whigs. 
1685* Jajies II. Monmouth's and Argyll's rebellions. 
1688* The Revolution. William III and Mart. 
1689* Bill of Rights. Toleration Act. 
1696* Battle of the Boyne. 
1694* Bank of England established. 
1696. The Whig Junto. 
1701* Act of Settlement. 
lYOS* ANNE. War with France. 

ITOdU Capture of Gibraltar. England becomes a Mediterranean power. 
ITOT. Act of Union with Scotland. 
ITOS. Capture of Minorca. 
1708-1710. Whig ministry. 
1710-1714. Tory ministry. 

1713. Peace of Utrecht. 

1714. George I and the Hanoverian dynasty. 

17)81-174J8. Walpole's administration. Evolution of the Cabinet and 

Prime Minister. Growth of imports and exports. 
17»7. Gborqb II. 
1739. War with Spain. 

1741-1748. War of the Austrian Succession. Cllve in India. 
1756-1763. Seven Years' War. 
1757. Battle of Plassey. 

1759. Capture of Quebec. 

1760. George III. 


H64-17W. Inventions by Arkwrlght, Hargreaves, and Crompton. Be- 
ginning of tbe Industrial Revolution. 

1T65. GrenvlUe'8 Stamp Act. 

1710* Lord North Prime Minister. Captain Cook surveys Australia and 
New Zealand. 

1774. The Quebec Act. 

177B* Declaration ot American Independence. Adam Smith's Wealth of 

IT^S-ITTS* France and Spain join the Americana. 

lYSO. The "Armed Neutrality." Warren Hastings saves India. 

17§1* FaU of Yorktown. 

ITS^ Vol\mteer movement In Ireland. Irish parliamentary independence. 

ITSS* American Independence granted. 

1794. Pitt Prime Minister: his India BUI. 

1T88. Convict settlement in Australia. 

ITSO* French Revolution. 

11'91* The Canadian Constitutional Act. 

l'T94« The "Glorious First of June." 

lirdS-lTOe. conquest of the Cape and of Ceylon. 

ITdT. Battles of St. Vincent and Camperdown. 

1798. rattle of the Nile. Irish rebellion. 

ITOd* Wellesley In India. Capture of Serhigapatam. Partition of Mysore 
and the Carnatlc. 

1600* Union of Great Britain and Ireland. Seizure of Malta. 

1801* Battle of Copenhagen. 

180S* Peace of Amiens. 

1803* Battles of Assye and Argaum. Defeat ol the Mahrattaa. 

1805. Battle of Trafalgar. 

1806. Second capture of the Cape, 
1808-1814. Peninsular War. 
1810. Capture of Mauritius. 
181»-1814. War with the United States. 

1814. Com Laws passed. 

1815. Battle of Waterloo. 
18SO. Georgk rv. 

18^5. Husklason's Tariff Reform. 

18d7. Battle of Navarlno. 

18S8. Com Laws revised. 

18«8-18«9. Repeal of Test Act. Roman Catholic Emancipation. 

1830. WnxiAM IV. Whigs return to power. 

183)3. First Reform Act. Representative Government established in 

1834-1835. Reform of the Poor Law and Municipal corporations. 
1837. Queen Victoria. Mackenzie and Paplneau's rebellions in Canada. 

Great Boer "trek." 
1840. Annexation of New Zealand. 
1841-1846. Peel's Free Trade policy. 

1845. Representative government in Australia. 

1846. Corn Laws repealed. 

1848. Responsible self-government In Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova 

1849. Repeal of the Navigation Acts. 

1853. Responsible government developed In Australia and New Zealand. 
1853* Representative government In Cape Colony. 


1854:-1856. Crimean "War. 

l@5a« Responsible government In Newfoundland. 

1656* Representative government in Natal. 

185T* Indian Mutiny. 

1858. Transference of India to the Crown. 

1867* Disraeli's Reform Act. Federation of the Dominion of Canada. 

1869* Disestablishment of the Irish Church. Opening of the Suez Canal. 

ISTO. Compulsory education. 

18'7;3* Abolition of purchase in the army by executive action. Responsible 

government in Cape Colony. 
18'y6« Queen proclaimed Empress of India. 
1816-18r'r. Russo-Turklsh War. Dual control established In Egypt. 

Annexation of the Transvaal. 
1881. Transvaal granted Independence. 
1883. British administration of Egypt begins. 

1885« Fall of Khartoum. Gladstone's Reform Act. Annexation of Burma. 
ISST* Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria, and Italy. 
1889* Establishment of County Councils. 
1890* Free Education. Franco-Russian entente. Responsible government 

In Western Australia. 
1893* Responsible government In Natal. 
1894* Establishment of district and parish councils. 
1895* Jameson Raid. 
1896-1898. Reconquest of the Sudan, 
1S99-190S. The Great Boer War. 
190O* Establishment of the Australian Conunonwealth. 
1901. Edward VII. 
1901* Russo-Japanese War. 
1905* Anglo-Japanese alliance. 
190G-190^. Responsible government granted to the Transvaal and 

Orange River Colonies. 

1909. The Union of South Africa. 

1910. Geohge V. 

1911. Asquith's Parliament Act. Capital of India transferred from Cal- 
cutta to Delhi. Beginnings of National Insurance. 


J. R. Gbeen'8 Short History of the English People (Macmlllan), and C. R. 
L. Fletcher's Introductorj/ History of England, 4 vols. (Murray), both 
eminently readable in very different styles, illustrate the diverse methods 
of treatment to which English hLstory lends itself. More elaborate sur\eya 
are provided by Longmans' Political History of England, 12 vols, (edited by 
W. Hunt and R. L. Poole), and Mbthuen's History of England, 7 vols, 
(edited by C. Oman). 

The student of Constitutional History should begin with F. W. Mait- 
Land's Lectures on Constitutional History (Cambridge University Press) , and 
for a compendium of facts may use Medley's Constitutional Historv of Eng- 
land (Blackwell). 

Periods can be studied in greater detail in — J. R. Green : The Making of 
England and The Conquest of England (Macmlllan). Freeman: Norman 
Conguest, 6 vols., and William Rufvs, 2 vols. (Oxford University Press). 
Norqate: England under the Angeimis, 2 vols., and John Lackland (Mac- 
mlllan). Ramsay: Lancaster and York, 2 vols. Froude: History of Eng- 
land, 1529-1588, 12 vols. (Longmans). Gardiner: History of England, 
1603-1642, 10 vols.; Civil War. 1642-1649, 4 vols.; Commonwealth and Pro- 
tectorate, 1649-1656, 4 vols. (Longmans). Macaulay: History of England, 
1685-1702 (Longmans). Lecky: History of England, 1714-1793, 7 vols.; 
Ireland, 1714-1800, 5 vols. (Longmans). Spencer Walpole: Hutnry of 
England, 1815-1846, 6 vols. Herbert Paxtl: History of Modern England, 
1846-1895, 5 vols. (Macmlllan). Morley: iLife of Gladstone, 2 vols. 

English Constitutional History Is detailed in — Stubbs: Constitutional 
History to 148,5, 3 vols. (Oxford University Press). Hallam: Constitiitioyml 
History, 1485-1760, 3 vols. (Miuray). Erskine May: Constitutional History, 
1760-1860, 3 vols. (Longmans). Anson: Law and Custom of the Constitu- 
tion, 3 vols. (Oxford University Press). Dicey: Custom of the Constitution 
(Macmlllan) . 

For Ecclesiastical History see Stephens and Hunt's History of the Church 
of England, 7 vols. (Macmlllan) ; for Colonial History, Seeley's Expansion 
of England (Macmlllan), and The British Empire (ed. Pollard; League of the 
Empire); for Economic and Industrial History, Cunningham's Oroirth of 
Industry and Commerce, 3 vols.; Ashley's Economic History, 2 vols. (Mac- 
mlllan), and Toynbee'8 Industrial Revolution; for sketches of movements 
and biographies, see Macattlay's Essays (Longmans), Stubb's Lectures on 
Mediaeval and Modern History (Oxford University Press), and Pollard's 
Factors in Modern History (Constable), 


Africa, Sottth, Union of, 220-1 
Aglncourt, 81 

Alfred the Great, 18, 27, 51 
American Colonies, 152, 155. 160-3, 

Anglo-Saxona, 9, 11-20, 30-1, 44, 

50, 176 
Anne, Queen, 140-1 
Armada, Spanish, 113 
Australia, 169, 207-17 

Bacon, Roger, 88 

Baronage, 35, 42. 46. 51-2, 58, 79- 

81, 226 
Baronets, 111 
Battle, trial by, 47-8 
Bede, 16, 88 
Black Death, 78 
Boers, 209, 220-1 
Boroughs or burhs, 19 
Bosworth, battle ol, 118 
Botany Bay, 169 
Boyne, battle of the, 156 
Burgh, Hubert de, 58 
Burke, Edmund, 149 

Cabal, 133-4 

Cabinet, 142-3 

Cabot, 108 

Caedmon, 16 

Calais, 73, 103 

Canada. 155, 158-9. 168-9, 208-10, 

Canute, 28 

Cape Colony, 171, 209, 213 
Capitalism, 179, 198 
Cecil, Sir William. 110, 111, 246 
Chambers, Second, 215-17 
Charles I, 123-30, 155, 188 

II, 131-5, 153-4, 160 

Chatham, Lord, 143 

Chaucer, 77, 88 

Church In England, 18, 20, 21, 26, 

44-6, 56, 68-9, 76, 91-101, 115, 

127, 131, 227, 239 
Clarendon, Lord, 133-4 
Clive, Lord, 159 
Coke, Chlel-Justlce, 53 
Commerce, growth of, 106-8, 167, 

177. 181, 183-5 
Common law, 50 
Commons, House of, 73-5, 79, 

130-1, 139, 144, 146-9, 157, 231-2 
Cook, Captain, 169 
Corn Laws, 147, 192-4 

Crecy, battle of, 66, 73 
Crimean War, 199, 202 
Cromwell, Oliver, 130 
Curia Regis, 48 

Danby, 134 

Danegeld, 28, 39 

Danes, 17-30 

Darwinism In politics. 233 

DlsraoU, 191, 201 

Divine right of kings, 118-19 

Domesday Book, 38 

Drake, Sir FrancLs, 109. 113 

Dukes. 79, 90, 110-11 

Duplelx, 159 

Durham. Lord, 209, 211 

Dutch, 153-6, 170, 209 

Earls and earldoms, 41, 79 
Ecgberht, 18, 29 
Edgar, 19 

Edmund Ironside, 28, 43 
Edward the Elder, 19 

the Confessor, 29 

I, 17. 32, 59, 62-71, 101 

II, 71. 82 

III. 71-79. 82, 83, 88, 108 

IV, 87 

VI, 101 

Egypt, 170-1, 205-7 

Elizabeth, Queen, 94, 104-16, 149 

Ethelred the Unready, 27 

Factories. 181-6, 197. 233 

Federation. 219-23 

Feudalism, 23-7, 35-40, 60-1. 67-8, 

France, 35, 71-2, 76, 80. 84, 90, 108. 

112. 113, 126, 134, 153, 155-9, 

163. 170-2. 202-4 
Frlth-borhs. 24-5 

George 1. 141 

II. 155 

III. 143, 148-9, 163. 166, 228 

Gibraltar, 157, 164 

Gladstone, W. E., 191, 195, 201, 235 

Godwlne, 29 

Grenvllle, George, 161 

Guthrum, 18, 27 

Habeas Corpus Act. 134 

Harold, 29. 32 

Hastings, battle of, 7, 30, 43 



Hastlnra, Warren, 164 
Henry I, 42-3. 49 

II, 32, 45-62, 62. 67. 72, 101 

Ill, 57-9 

— — rv 83—4 

V, 84-6, 88-9, 108 

VI, 84-6 

VII, 87-90. 108 

VIII, 90-101, 106, 109, 115, 

Hereditary principle. 41, 47, 118 
Hereward, 32 

Hobbes, Thomag, 126. 228. 233 
Hundreds, 23-4. 39. 40. 63 
Hundred Years' War, 71-86 

Image-worship, 98-100 

Incloaure Acta, 102, 182-3, 187-8, 

Independents, 129-31 
India. 10. 33. 150. 154, 159, 167-172, 

201-3. 205-6 
Individualism. 240-3 
Ireland. 113. 114, 130, 164-6, 193 
Italy. 201. 203 

James I. 115-23 

II, 135-7, 156. 160 

Jesuits. Ill 

Jehn, King. 51-2, 56-8, 61 
Jury, trial by, 31, 47-8, 65 
Jutes, 11, 13^ 

Ketfs rebellion, 102 
Kruger, President, 214-15 

Laissez /aire, 198. 229, 232 
Lancaster. Thomas of, 82 
Langlaud. 77 
Liberty and liberties, 53-4, 125. 

129. 137, 148, 229 
Lollardy, 76-8. 97 
LoHdon. 43. 107, 189 
Lords, House of. 73, 79-81. 84. 107. 

129-30. 139. 143, 145, 157, 166. 

168, 191-2. 216-17, 231, 235, 243 

Magna Carta, 51-6, 70 

Malthus. 190 

Manorial system. 39-40 

Marquises. 79 

Mary. Queen, 91. 101. 103. 108 

Queen of Scots, 110, 113 

MatUda, 44 

Merchant guilds, 61 

Minorca, 157 

Montfort, Simon de. 59, 69 

More, Sir Thomas. 93 

Natal, 210. 213 

Nationalism. 67. 68. 75-6 

Navigation Acts. 154, 157. 161. 196 

Navy. 109 

Netherlands. 112. 113. 200 

Newfoundland. 108. 151, 212 

New Mouarchy, 83. 87, 89 

New Zealand, 169, 209, 212, 217, 

Normandy, loss of, 53 

Normans, 31-44 

Nova Scotia, 161. 158. 212 

Orange River State. 210, 213-15 
Ordeal, trial by, 47-8 

Parliament, growth of, 51, 59. 60, 
63-5, 73-5, 95, 101. 115. 117-49, 
166, 190-2, 236-8 

Peel, Sir Robert, 193. 195 

Peers. 54, 79-83, 157, 166 

Persia, 204 

Philip II. 103-4 

Pilgrim Fathers, 151. 169 

Pitt, WUlIam, 143, 149, 165, 168. 
170, 194 

Poitiers, battle of. 66, 73 

Political parties. 127, 140-1 

Poor laws. 178 ~ 

Portugal. 112. 153, 200 

PTCtmunire, 76 

Presbyterians. 124, 129 

Primogeniture. 41 

Protestantism. 91-101 

ProvisoTS, 76 

Quakers. 227 
Quebec. 159 
Queensland, 209 

Referendum. 236-7 

Reform Acts of 1832-1885, 191-3. 

230-1. 235 
Reformation, 91-101 
Renaissance. 96 
Representation, principles of. 55. 

Representative government, 208- 

Responsible government, 137, 208, 

Restoration. 131 
Revolution of 1688. 136-9 

, French, 149. 159. 229 

, Industrial. 149. 173-199 

Rhodes. Cecil, 214 
Richard I. 32, 62. 57, 61 

II, 79-83 

Ill, 87 

Right. Petition of. 124 
Rights. BUI of. 136, 160 
Rights of Man, 228-9 
Roman Law. 60 
Romans In Britain. 9-11 
Roses. Wars of the. 83-7, 89 
Russia, 163, 201-4 

Salisbury oath. the. 40 

Scotland. 69. 151, 166-7 

Scutage. 46. 128 

Shakespeare. 114 

Sherlfls. 36. 41-2. 47 

Shhes. 36. 39-40, 63 

Sluys. battle of, 73 

Socage. 38 

Socialism, 241-3 

South Africa, 209-10. 213-15, 217. 

Spain. 103. 109-11, 113, 163, 168, 

163, 200 



Spelman, Sir Henry, 35, 53 

Stamp Act, 161 

Star Chamber, 90, 132 

Stephen, lilng, 44 

Suez Canal, 202 

Tallage, 55, 70, 75 
Tariff Reform, 195 
Taxation, 55. 62-3, 122, 138-9, 

Thegns, 21 
Tories, 134-5, 140-3 
Towns, growth of, 61, 177-8 
Trafalgar, battle of, 170 
Transubstantiation, 78, 99 
Transvaal, 210, 213-15 
Turkey, 200, 202 

trister, 151, 165 

United States, 155, 163-6, 210, 219, 

220-1, 226 
Utrecht, Peace of, 145, 158 

Victoria, 209 

Villeins, 38. 55, 65, 77-8, 178 
Virginia, 151-2 
Vlscoxmts. 42, 79 

Wales, 16, 69 

Walpole, Sir Robert, 142, 158, 161, 

Walsingham, Sir F., 107, 111 
Waltheof, 32 

Warwick the King-maker, 87 
Waterloo, battle of, 172, 199 
Wellesley, Marquess, 171 
Wellington, Duke of, 171 
West Indies, 152, 173 
Whigs, 134-5, 140-3. 16 
William I, 29-31 

II, 42 

Ill, 136-40 

Witan, the, 21 
Wolfe, General, 159 
Wolsey, Cardinal, 90. 126 
Women's Suffrage, 217 
Wyclifte, 77, 88 


LIBRARY q/ Modern Knowledge 

Is made up of absolutely new books by leading authorities. 

The editors are Professors Gilbert Murray y H. A. L. 
Fisher, W, T, Brewster, and J. Arthur Thomson. 

Cloth bound, good paper, clear type, 256 pages, per vol- 
ume, bibliographies, indices, also maps or illustrations 
where needed. Each complete ^ C r»i2k-»-»i-o 
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73. EURIPIDES AND HIS AGE. By Gilbert Murray, Regius Pro- 
fessor of Greek, Oxford. 

101. DANTE. By Je£Ferson B. Fletcher, Columbia University. An 
interpretation of Dante and his teaching from his writings. 

2. SHAKESPEARE. By John Masefield. "One of the very few in- 
dispensable adjuncts to a Shakespearean Library." — Boston 

81. CHAUCER AND HIS TIMES. By Grace E. Hadow, Lecturer Lady 
Margaret Hall, Oxford; Late Reader, Bryn Mawr. 

97. MILTON. By John Bailey. 

59. DR. JOHNSON AND HIS CIRCLE. By John Bailey. Johnson's life, 
character, Vv'orks, and friendships are surveyed; and there is a 
notable vindication of the "Genius of Boswell." 

Glutton Brock, author of "Shelley: The Man and the Poet." 
William Morris believed that the artist should toi' for love of his 
work rather than the gain of his employer, and so he turned from 
making works of art to remaking society. 


The influence of the French Revolution on England. 

70. ANCIENT ART AND RITUAL. By Jane E. Harrison, LL D., 
D. Litt. "One of the 100 most important books of 1913." — 
A^en> York Times Reviet). 

of English Literature, University College, London. "One of the 
soundest scholars. His style is effective, simple, yet never dry." — 
The Athenaeum. 

87. THE RENAISSANCE. By Edith Sichel, author of "Catherine de 
Medici," "Men and Women of the French Renaissance." 

89. ELIZABETHAN LITERATURE. By J. M. Robertson, M. P., 

author of "Montaigne and Shakespeare," "Modern Humanists. ' 

and Surrey to Synge and Yeats. "One of the best of this great 
series." — Chicago Evening Post. 


40. THE ENGLISH LANGUAG£. By L. P. Smith. A concise history 
of its origin and development. 

66. WRITING ENGLISH PROSE. By WilHara T. Brewster, Professor 
of English, Columbia University. "Should be put into the hand^ 
of every man who is beginning to write and of every teacher of 
English that has brains enough to understand sense." — Neiv Yor}^ 

58. THE NEWSPAPER. By G. Blnney Dibble. The first full account 
from the inside of newspaper organization as it exists to-day. 

48. GREAT WRITERS OF AMERICA. By W. P. Trent and John 
Erskine, Columbia University. 

author of "The Russian People," etc. Tolstoi, Tourgenieff. 
Dostoieffsky, Pushkin (the father of Russian Literature), Sally- 
kov (the satirist,) Leskov, and many other authors. 


Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge. "It is diff.cult to imacine 
how a better account of French Literature could be given in 250 
pages." — London Times. 


62. PAINTERS AND PAINTING. By Sir Frederick Wedmore. With 
16 half-tone illustrations. 

38 ARCHITECTURE. By Prof. W. R. Lethaby. An introduction tr 
i\e history and theory of the art of building. 


68. DISEASE AND ITS CAUSES. By W. T. Councilman, M. D.. 
LL. D., Professor of Pathology, Harvard University. 

85. SEX. By J. Arthur Thompson and Patrick Geddes, joint authors 
of "The Evolution of Sex." 

71. PLANT LIFE. By J. B. Farmer, D. Sc, F. R. S., Professor of Bof 
any in the Imperial College of Science, London. This very fully 
illustrated volume contains an account of the salient features of 
plant form and function. 

63. THE ORIGIN AND NATURE OF LIFE. By Benjamin M. Moore. 
Professor of Bio-Chemistry, Liverpool. 

90. CHEMISTRY. By Raphael Meldola, F. R. S., Professor of Chem- 
istry, Finsbury Technical College. Presents the way in which 
the science has developed and the stage it has reached. 

53. ELECTRICITY. By Gishert Kapp, Professor of Electrical En- 
gineering, University of Birmingham. 

54. THE MAKING OF THE EARTH. By J. W. Gregory, Professor ol 
Geology, Glasgow University. 38 maps and figures. Describes 
the origin of the earth, the formation and changes of its sirface 
and structure, its geological history, the first appearance of life, 
and its influence upon the globe. 


Hunterian Professor, Royal College of Surgeons, London. Shows 
how the human body developed. 
74. NERVES. By David Eraser Harris, M. D., Professor of Physi- 
ology, Dalhousie University, Halifax. Explains in non-technical 
language the place and powers of the nervous system. 

21. AN INTRODUCTION TO SCIENCE. By Prof. J. Arthur Thomson. 

Science Editor of the Home University Library. For those un- 
acquainted with the scientific volumes in the series, this would 
prove an excellent introduction. 

14. EVOLUTION. By Prof. J. Arthur Thomson and Prof. Patrick 
Geddes. Explains to the layman what the title means lo the 
scientific world. 

23. ASTRONOMY. By A. R. Hinks, Chief Assistant at the Cam- 
bridge Observatory. "Decidedly original in substance, and the 
most readable and informative little book on modern astronomy 
we have seen for a long time." — Nature. 

24. PSYCHICAL RESEARCH. By Prof. W. F. Barrett, formerly Pres- 
ident of the Society for Psychical Research. 

9. THE EVOLUTION OF PLANTS. By Dr. D. H. Scott, President 
of the Linnean Society of London. The story of the develop- 
ment of flowering plants, from the earliest zoological times, uo 
lorlced from ferhniral lanouaop. 

«3. MATTER AND ENERGY. By F. Soddy, Lecturer in Physicdi 
Chemistry and Radioactivity, University of Glasgow. "Brilliant. 
Can hardly be surpassed. Sure to attract atten'ion." — New 
York Sun. 

Dougail, of Oxford. A well digested summary of the essen- 
tials of the science put in excellent literary form by a leading 

A compact statement by the Emeritus Professor at Glasgow, for 
uninstructed readers. 

37. ANTHROPOLOGY. By R. R. Marett, Reader in Social An- 
thropology, Oxford. Seeks to plot out and sum up the general 
series of changes, bodily and mental, undergone by man in the 
course of history. "Excellent. So enthusiastic, so clear and witty, 
and so well adapted to the general reader." — American Librarv 
Association Boof(lisi. 

17. CRIME AND INSANITY. By Dr. C. Mercier, author of 'Tesi 
Book of Insanity," etc. 

12. THE ANIMAL WORLD. By Prof. F. W. Gamble. 


author of "Universal Algebra." 


M. A., LL. D., Regius Professor of Modern History in Cam- 
bridge University. Summarizes the history of the long strugole 
between authority and reason and of the emergence of the prin- 
ciple that coercion of opinion is a mistake. 

96. A HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY. By Clement C. J. Webb, 


35. THE PROBLEMS OF PHILOSOPHY. By Bertrand Russell, 

Lecturer and Late Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge. 

60. COMPARATIVE RELIGION. By Prof. J. Estlin Carpenter. 

"One of the few authorities on this subject compares all the re- 
ligions to see what they have to offer on the great themes of re- 
ligion." — Chrisiian Wor\ and Evangelist. 

44. BUDDHISM. By Mrs. Rhys Davids, Lecturer on Indian Philoso- 
phy, Manchester. 


, Selbie* Principal of Manchester College. Oxford. 

dell Creighton, author of "History of England." The authoi 
seeks to prove that missions have done more to civilize the} 
than any other human agency. 

52. ETHICS. By G. E. Moore, Lecturer in Moral Science, Cam- 
bridge. Discusses what is right and what is wrong, and the why* 
and wherefores. 

Moore, Professor of the History of Religion, Harvard Uni- 
versity. "A popi lar work of the highest order. Will be profit- 
able to anybody who cares enough about Bible study to read a 
serious book on the subject." — American Journal of Theology, 

MENTS. By R. H. Charles, Canon of Westminster. Shows how 
religious and ethical thought between 180 B. C. and 100 A. D. 
grew naturally into that of the New Testament.' 


Professor of New Testament Criticism, Yale. An authoritative 
summary of the results of modern critical research with regard to 
the origins of the New Testament. 


91. THE NEGRO. By W. E. Burghardt DuBois, author of "Souls of 
Black Folks," etc. A history of the black man in Africa. 
America or wherever else his presence has been or is important. 

liams, Chairman, Executive Committee, International Co-opera- 
tive Alliance, etc. Explains the various types of co-partnership 
or profit-sharing, or both, and gives details of the arrangementa 
now in force in many of the great industries. 

HAM TO J. S. MILL. By William L. P. Davidson. 

PRESENT DAYo By Ernest Barker, M. A. 

79. UNEMPLOYMENT. By A. C. Pigou, M. A., Professor of Political 
Economy at Cambridge. The meaning, measurement, distribution, 
and effects of unemployment, its relation to wages, trade fluctua- 
tions, and HispnfpR. and ^nmf proposalc <-vf rfmedv or relief. 

80. COMMON-SENSE IN LAW. By Prof. Paul Viaogradoff. D. C. L., 
LL. D. Social and Legal Rules — Legal Rights and Outies — 
Facts and Acts in Law — Legislation — Custom — Judicial Prece- 
dents — Equity — The Law of Nature. 


Professor of Political Economy and Dean of Faculty of Com- 
merce and Administration, University of Manchester. 

11. THE SCIENCE OF WEALTH. By J. A. Hobson, author of "Prob- 
lems of Poverty." A study of the structure and working of the 
modern business world. 

TICE. By Sir Courtenay P. Ilbert, Clerk of the House of Com- 

16. LIBERALISM. By Prof. L. T. Hobbouse, author of "Democracy 
and Reaction." A masterly philosophical and historical review of 
the subject. 

5. THE STOCK EXCHANGE. By F. W. Hirst, Editor of the London 
Economist. Reveals to the non-financial mind the facts about 
investment, speculation, and the other terms which the title sug- 

10. THE SOCIALIST MOVEMENT. By J. Ramsay Macdonald, 

Chairman of the British Labor Party. 


Professor of Political Economy, University of Leeds. An out- 
line of the recent changes that have given us the present conditions 
of the working classes and the principles involved. 

29. ELEMENTS OF ENGLISH LAV/. By W. M. Geldart, Vlnerlan 

Professor of English Law, Oxford. A simple statement of the 
basic principles of the English legal system on which that of the 
United States is based. 

CATION. By J. J. Findlay. Professor of Education, Manches- 
ter. Presents the history, the psychological basis, and the theory 
of the school with a rare power of summary and suggestion. 

6. IRISH NATIONALITY. By Mrs. J. R. Green. A brilliant ccount 
of the genius and mission of the Irish people. "An entrancing 
work, and I would advise every one with a drop of Irish blood 
in his veins or a vein of Irish sympathy in his heart to read it."— 
A/eB> Vnrlf Times' Rpvien^ 


102. SERBIA. By L. F. Waring, with preface by J. M. Jovanovitch, 

Serbian Minister to Great Britain. The main outHnes of Serbian 
history, with special emphasis on the immediate causes of the war, 
and the questions which will be of greatest importance in the after- 
the-war settlement. 

33. THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND. By A. F. Pollard, Professor of 
English History, University of London. 

95. BELGIUM. By R. C. K. Ensor, Sometime Scholar of Balliol 
College. The geographical, linguistic, historical, artistic and lit- 
erary associations. 

99. POLAND. By W. Alison Phillips, University of Dublin. The 
history of Poland with special emphasis upon the Polish question 
of the present day. 

34. CANADA. By A. G. Bradley. 

72. GERMANY OF TO-DAY. By Charles Tower. 

78. LATIN AMERICA. By William R. Shepherd, Professor of His- 
tory, Columbia. With maps. The historical, artistic, and com- 
mercial development of the Central South American republics. 

18. THE OPENING-UP OF AFRICA. By Sir H. H. Johnston. 

19. THE CIVILIZATION OF CHINA. By H. A. Giles, Professor of 
Chinese, Cambridge. 


"The best small treatise dealing with the range of subjects fairly 
indicated by the title." — The Dial. 

26. THE DAWN OF HISTORY. By J. L. Myers, Professor of Ancient 
History, Oxford. 

92. THE ANCIENT EAST. By D. G. Hogarth, M. A., F. B. A., 

F. S. A. Connects with Prof. Myers's "Dawn of History" (No. 
26) at about 1000 B. C. and reviews the history of Assyria, 
Babylon, Cilicia, Persia and Macedon. 

30. ROME. By W. Warde Fowler, author of "Social Life at Rome," 

13. MEDIEVAL EUROPE. By H. W. C. Davis, Fellow at Balliol Col- 
lege, Oxford, author of "Charlemagne," etc. 

3. THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. By Hillaire Belloc. 
57. NAPOLEON. By H. A. L. Fisher, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield 
University. Author of "The Republican Tradition in Europe." 

20. HISTORY OF OUR TIME (1885-1911). By C. P. Goocli. 
22. THE PAPACY AND MODERN TIMES. By Rev. William Barry, 

D. D., author of "The Papal Monarchy," etc. The story of the 
rise and fall of the Temporal Power. 


author of "Russia in Revolution," etc. 

94. THE NAVY AND SEA POWER. By David Hannay, author of 
"Short History of the Royal Navy," etc. A brief history of the 
navies, sea power, and ship growth of all nations, including the 
rise and d«cline of America on the sea, and explaining the 
present British supremacy thereon. 
8. POLAR EXPLORATION. By Dr. W. S. Bruce, Leader of the 
"Scotia" expedition. Emphasizes the results of the expeditions. 

SI. MASTER MARINERS. By John R. Spears, author of "The His- 
tory of Our Navy," etc. A history of sea craft adventure from 
the earliest times. 

86. EXPLORATION OF THE ALPS. By Arnold Lunn, M. A. 
7. MODERN GEOGRAPHY. By Dr. Marion Newbigin. Shows the re- 
lation of physical features to living things and to some of the 
chief institutions of civilization. 

THE SEA. By Sir John Marray, K. C. B., Naturalist H. M. S. 
"Challenger," 1872-1876, joint author of "The Depths of iSe 
Ocean," etc. 

84. THE GROWTH OF EUROPE. By Granville Cole, Professor of 
Geology, Royal College of Science, Ireland. A study of llie 
geology and physical geography in connection with the political 


47. THE COLONIAL PERIOD (1607-1766). By Charles McLean An- 
drews, Professor of American History, Yale. 

By Theodore C. Smith, Professor of American History, Wil- 
liams College. A history of the period, with especial emphasis 
on The Revolution and The War of 1812. 

67. FROM JEFFERSON TO LINCOLN (1815-1860). By William 
MacDonald, Professor of History, Brown University. The 
author makes the history of this period circulate about constitu- 
tional ideas and slavery sentiment. 

25. THE CIVIL WAR (1854-1865.) By Frederic L. Paxson, 
Professor of American History, University of Wisconsin. 

39. RECONSTRUCTION AND UNION (1865-1912). By Paul LeIand 
Haworth. A History of the United States in our own times. 


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